Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Wine Country

My brother is a sommelier and we were very lucky to have him organise a couple of wine tastings while in Cape Town.  We set off from our hotel early (will post on it tomorrow, however a little sneak peak is that we stayed at one of The Leading Hotels of the World, and it was incredible!) and made our way to the very picturesque town of Franschhoek. Situated about an hour and a half in-land from the cape, and surrounded by mountains, this quaint little town is right in the heart of wine country.

Our first stop was at recently appointed South African winery of the year - Boekenhoutskloof.  We were hosted by the winemaker Marc Kent and given a tour of their facility and a delicious taste of their exclusive wines.  The winery was started in 1776 and one can see the history in the buildings - beautiful white Cape Dutch buildings house their winemaking facilities and long rustic wood tables and colourful chairs welcome all that come to taste their wine on the sprawling outdoor patios.  One of their house labels has a little sketch of seven traditional Neoclassical chairs made by the wood of a local tree (image below), and the simplicity and reference to tradition really makes it special.

Our second stop of the day was a much needed food break for lunch at Pierneef a La Motte a restaurant at the renowned La Motte Wine Estate. Lunch was delicious and we were fortunate with the weather which allowed us to enjoy one of their terraces.  Like the rest of the winery, the restaurant is a lovely combination of old and new - the traditional buildings have been given a simple face-lift with the addition of glass, wood and steel throughout helping to open views in and out. The restaurant featured large vaulted ceilings with suspended lights made of LEDs splashing onto suspended chinaware (see second image below). It was a very cool feature that not only helped to fill the large height but was a nice break away from the rather formal nature of the dining room.

Following lunch we proceeded to the tasting pavilion on the property where we enjoyed a wonderful set of wines.  La Motte was a much more commercial facility than Boekenhoutskloof and we could tell that it was a much larger production - there was a kind of sterile organisation to everything that reminded me much more of a clinic than a chem lab.  The brick vaulted room where they aged some of their barrelled wine was reminiscent of an ancient time (last image). We had a truly wonderful day and were fortunate enough to be treated like royalty at our tastings. The wines were delicious and both properties had a wonderful mix of traditional and modern detailing and materials.


  1. oh wow - incredible!
    You're giving me so much inspiration for my trip!
    Keep these posts coming!

  2. Wow, those are some incredible looking wineries and totally different than the ones in the US


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