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Wining, dining (and more) in the Western Cape


On a visit to the most well-known grape-growing region in South Africa, MARK HARADA realises you needn’t be a wine connoisseur to enjoy the fruits of this part of the world.

 

There’s a sense of sameness among wine regions, whether it’s the climate, landscapes or just in the rows and rows of vineyards. 

 

But as we drive through the spectacular scenery near Franschhoek and Stellenbosch in South Africa, high mountains on one side and valleys dotted with pretty villages on the other, it strikes me that this wine-producing region stands out from almost any other. 

 

 

On this visit to the Western Cape region, we call into Rupert & Rothschild Vignerons, which was founded by South Africa’s famous Rupert family and Baron Benjamin de Rothschild from France. 

 

This winery is best known for its chardonnay, cabernet sauvignon and merlot, which can be tried in the beautiful Tasting Centre from just 20 rand ($2!) per sample. 

 

 

Or you can dine in its excellent restaurant, where wines are paired with world class cuisine like crispy Patagonian squid and shaved fennel, chalmar beef sirloin, and layered chocolate and blackberry gateaux - that’s three dishes and three glasses of wine for around $50! 

 

Wining and dining aside, the Cape Dutch architecture here is beautiful too, and the manicured grounds are equally lovely. 

 

 

A stone’s throw from R&R, we move onto Vrede en Lust, where we try some more wines while enjoying views of the vineyards and nearby Simonsberg-Paarl mountains. 

 

At Vrede, our wine tasting is paired with chocolate tasting, care of an exclusive collaboration between the winery and Lindt Excellence.

 

For just R100 ($10), visitors can sample six wines along with six different types of Lindt chocolate (like the Lindt Excellence chilli chocolate with a pinot noir) while being aided by one of the winery’s signature and knowledgeable ‘Red Ladies’. 

 

 

Established in 1688, this family-owned property also boasts pretty gardens, Cape Dutch buildings and a huge solar panel grid, which was the first and biggest of its kind in the South African wine industry.

 

If you’re into viticulture, you’ll love this part of South Africa, which is located within an hour of Cape Town. But even if you’re not, with its landscapes, architecture, people, and indeed food, you’ll find something to love about the Stellenbosch and Franschhoek region.

 

Read more about Franschhoek, and a nearby, very special Nelson Mandela site here.

 

Traveltalk was a guest of South African Tourism. The writer stayed at Victoria and Albert Hotel, Cape Town. Read our review of the hotel.

 

 

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Written by: Mark Harada
Published: 10 January 2020


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