MAGIC OF WINTER IN ROBERTSON
So as you may have seen, we recently had a whirlwind of a tour in the Robertson Wine Valley with Mira from Hot Oven Marketing! We were truly spoilt and so I could not even fit all of the delightful spots we visited into one post – hence Part 1 and Part 2.
Last week, I released Part 1 and you can read it HERE if you missed it…
And…here we go!
Are you excited? Hope so! 🙂
On our way to our first stop, we took some more Kardashian-inspired photos for, you know, in case we need to make a CD cover one day 🙂
Our first stop was at Paul René and this stop was a very special one because we were welcomed into the home of Henk and Monica van Niekerk, the farmers and producers of these fantastic MCCs! (How awesome is that?) And, this visit was made even more special as it was Leanne’s 100th wine farm visit! (Leanne aka The Wine Girl Cape Town is aiming to visit 800 farms by the time she’s 40!)
Obviously, I don’t need to tell you that this isn’t a “normal” wine tasting. They have a “normal” tasting venue as you come into the farm where you are welcome to taste their bubbles! So, as you can imagine, we felt really privileged to be welcomed here.
Monica is a pro at decorating and she had placed these beautiful flowers on the tables where our lunch was held. Her creativity is also evident on the MCC labels which you will see soon.
As we arrived, we received a glass of the Brut MCC. It’s 100% Chardonnay and has flavours of fresh green apples and apricots. It’s very dry and I reckon it would pair wonderfully with some rich seafood.
I am not the biggest MCC drinker, but I particularly enjoyed their Brut Rosé! It’s a light salmon colour due to the 75% Pinot Noir added to the 25% Chardonnay. I enjoyed the red fruit flavours and the floral aromas. This one, I could actually drink without pairing it with food, but it does pair very nicely with a light meal, like salads and seafood. (We did this – see below)
As you can see, the labels are really stunning. (Told you, Monica is a pro!) When you buy a bottle, you also get a really cool bag that looks like a handbag! You can kind of see it in the above photo.
And here’s a pic of Leanne’s 100th celebration! (You can see the wine bag more clearly here.)
We were truly spoilt with a delicious lunch! First, we had a really tasty avo salad with rocket, red onion and olive oil.
Then we had the main meal, which was a combination of: this yummy baby marrow spaghetti…
And a delicious prawn curry! Yum! This dish paired really well with the Brut Rosé as the flavours in the dish were still quite delicate.
Here I am living the best life 🙂
Thanks SO much to Henk and Monica! You are both such awesome people and I was so touched by your kind hospitality! (Especially because Henk was actually sick!) I cannot wait to see your new homegrown Pinot Noir vines growing nicely the next time I visit!
Look how happy we were! 🙂
EXCELSIOR WINE ESTATE
Our second stop was at Excelsior Wine Estate. Here, you can blend your own bottle of wine, label it and take it home! Really cool! Their tasting venue is a wooden room on stilts overlooking the dam and so it’s really pretty.
It was rather chilly when we visited, but it would be really nice to relax on the grass on a warm summer day. They have a deli too called Graze @ Excelsior where they make freshly baked bread for you to tuck into. It’s kid friendly as well, so it’s a good spot for a family outing.
But we were just there for the wine 🙂 Here, we met Toinette from Hot Oven Marketing who introduced us to the Excelsior wines.
We tasted the three wines that you can use to blend your own bottle of wine: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Shiraz. I enjoyed the Shiraz the most as it had dark cherries and spicy flavours that I enjoy. I think these wines were from their Classic range, but they also have a Reserve range that had a good Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz – although you can’t use these in your own wine blend that you will bottle.
Me enjoying the lekker view and a sample of my own blend…
So, how the blending process works is: you take a small, plastic test-tube-shaped container, you fill it with the wines from the small barrels (making sure to take note of your measurements) and then you pour it into your glass to taste it. If you are happy with it, you take one of the empty wine bottles and fill it according to the ratio you preferred.
You don’t have to use all three wine varietals, so if you only like the Shiraz, you can just fill your bottle with that and you’re good to go. But personally, I feel that takes away from the fun, blending experience. I added 60% Shiraz, close to 30% of Merlot and then I topped up the rest with Cabernet Sauvignon.
You then cork your own bottle! (You need some muscles for this) 🙂
And then put a plastic seal on it which you sort of burn onto the bottle in this heated thing (can’t remember what it was called).
You can then design your own label on their computer to stick onto your bottle, but on the day we visited, there were some technological glitches, so we just wrote on our labels ourselves.
And here it is! The finished product! Really cool!
As if that wasn’t enough, we also got a tour of the estate! The owner, Peter de Wet, took us in his bakkie to explore their citrus orchards. Citrus grows really well in the Robertson area!
These particular ones are mandarins and they are quite small in size, but packed with flavour.
Here’s me being my weird self…
These mandarins were really delicious! Very sweet and juicy! It was such a special experience to try a freshly-picked one! (Thanks, Peter!)
The view from the top of the estate is really beautiful too! The weather was quite miserable, so the photo doesn’t really do it justice, but you can pretty much see the whole valley.
Thanks so much to Toinette and Peter for our fun experience at Excelsior! I would love to come back soon and stay in one of the guest rooms in the Guest House!
And then we were off again…
Our third and final stop for the day was at Windfall Wine Farm. It was just getting dark as we arrived and so we were pleased to get inside as it was starting to get chilly!
They have a unique tasting room as the room forms part of the actual house and so it naturally has a homely feel to it.
We were treated to some yummy snacks on the table and started our tasting with this Mendola MCC.
It had flavours of guava and citrus and a light, crisp acidity.
All the reds lined up, ready to be tasted!
We tasted their range of wines and I quite enjoyed the off-dry Grenache Rosé. But it was these two reds that I particularly enjoyed: the Barrel 41 and the Kibali. The Barrel 41 is a blend of Shiraz, Mourvèdre and Grenache and it had great dark berry and chocolate flavours with a light spiciness.
The Kibali was also good – a blend of Shiraz, Mourvèdre, Cabernet Sauvignon and Grenache. It costs R220 a bottle and I think it has good ageing potential, so I’d keep it for a nice treat.
Here’s me in my happy place – in front of the fire with a glass of wine!
We then went to the Windfall Guest Cottages, where we were staying over for the night. When we arrived, it was pitch dark, so here is a photo I took in the morning of the Sauvignon Blanc Cottage that I stayed in. They are really quaint little spots. My little cottage sleeps two and has more than enough space inside for two people.
The next three photos are night-time ones, so excuse the quality. Here’s a pic of the bedroom. I was so glad to see that the beds have electric blankets as it was freezing that night!
Here’s the bathroom. There’s no bath, but the shower was really hot with nice pressure.
They also have a little kitchen, with a fridge and kettle.
All the cottages have a nice stoep area with chairs and an outdoor braai. It’s a really lekker spot to relax on a warm afternoon.
We all met up at the biggest cottage (that sleeps 4 people) to have our braai for dinner.
Leanne and I braaied! Can you believe it? 🙂
Of course, we couldn’t leave without taking a random photo! 🙂
Thanks so much to Windfall Wines for having us! We enjoyed our stay!
And then it was suddenly our last day and we were on our way home…
The last stop was on the way home – the really fun Four Cousins. This spot is sort of a sub-division of Van Loveren (mentioned in Part 1). The four Retief cousins run the Van Loveren Wine Estate and the name, Four Cousins, was given to their range of wines released in 2000.
This new Four Cousins spot houses SO many cool things to do, which I will tell you below.
The interior is quite modern and it still feels very new, although it’s been there for quite a while already!
They have a little shop as you come in on the left where you can buy their whole range of products. Pictured here is one of the first wines I ever drank – the Sweet Rosé 🙂 I’m sure it was quite possibly one of your first wines too!
They also make their own beer on site and you can buy this craft beer on tap and drink while you dine at the restaurant.
Just in case you were waiting for our fun photo…
We then started our tasting and we got to try SO MANY PAIRINGS! Oh my gosh – I was just blown away! Most of the tastings are R60 and I think that’s really reasonable for what you get. I’m not going to explain each one, because you’ll see, there are loads. But you are welcome to comment below if you’d like some more info.
Firstly, here’s the Skinny Pairing. I like that you get a decent amount of wine in your glasses!
This one was particularly popular: the Family Pairing. I loved the familiar taste of the jammy biscuit and the Zoo biscuit on the end.
This one was very South African – the Sparkling Wine Pairing. I enjoyed it way more than I thought I would because I liked the combination of the cheeses paired with the sweeter MCCs. (And I haven’t had Melrose cheese in years!)
They also have a beer pairing which is R85 and you get some biltong and droewors with it. I’m not a big beer fan, but I liked the paler ones and the combination of the beers with the biltong was great.
They have really awesome olive oil and olives in this Olyfberg pairing! I’d certainly recommend this is if you are an olive person! The tapenade was delicious! I liked the pairing with the red wines for this one.
Then, you also get a Gin Tasting for R100. This isn’t really a pairing, but you get to taste the various gins with the various botanicals which is pretty cool. (They give you a tonic water so you don’t have to drink it neat if you don’t want to.)
If you’re more into the spirit coolers, you can go for the Fiver and Sorbet pairing for R45. The sorbets were delicious.
Then, (yes there’s more), they have a Whisky Pairing! Their whisky is made in Scotland and aptly called the Scottish Cousin. We tried a 5, 8 and 12 year one and I quite liked the last two.
Last, but not least, was the Fan platter with a really great rose granita and a Marula cream liqueur on the end!
Literally, in my element…
Cheers to us! And all the wine on the table!
And, we needed another photo for the back of our CD cover 🙂
The Four Wine Friends…
And…that’s it for Part 2 and the end of our fun-filled, wine-filled and food-filled weekend!
I’d like to say a BIG thank you to Mira from Hot Oven Marketing who organised this whole weekend and also accompanied us for the entire time! We appreciate it so much! You are awesome and such a beautiful human being!
*All the cool, awesome images were taken by Gabi Sieni and the dud photos are probably mine 🙂