My job takes me to vineyards all over the Western Cape. The bulk of my travels are in Paarl, where my wine is bottled, and Stellenbosch where a lot of Wine Press’ wines are sourced. I’m always looking for an excuse to visit other wine producing regions, so when my girlfriend asked to go away for her birthday, I surprised her with a trip to Robertson.
We started at Nernia Wine Farm where our hostess made us the best tasting Milktart I’ve ever had in my life. Sadly, the rondavel we stayed at wasn’t quite winter proof, so after getting a case of their Pinotage/Shiraz red blend to sample, we decided to find somewhere with a fireplace.
On our way into town we began our wine tasting extravaganza. Our first stop was Rooiberg Winery (www.rooiberg). After working our way through their entire range, Laura fell in love with their reserve range Chardonnay where I preferred their reserve range Shiraz. They also have a restaurant so that you can line your stomach before plying yourself with wine.
Major’s Hill (www.majorshill.co.za), the original home to Kilpdrift brandy, was stop number two. Their brand new tasting room is currently under construction, so after a bit of a confusing wander around the loading dock, we were able to find the tasting room. The best part about the somewhat circuitous walk to the tasting room is that we had the place all to ourselves. Behind the tasting desk was the Wine Marker’s daughter, who clearly had grown up under her father’s tutelage and had a passion for his wine. One quick phone call brought the Wine Maker, Alkie (brilliant name), up for a personal talk about his wines. While I talked with Alkie about the wines he had available, Laura enjoyed a chat with his daughter who was generously pouring samples of her favorite wine and recommending other places to go. The pinotage and chardonnay were our favorites. They also have a beautiful cottage on their farm if you want to be able to stumble home after sampling their wine.
Our final stop was Springfield Estate (www.springfieldestate.com). At this point we needed a bit of fresh air, so the grassy lawn outside their tasting room in view of a beautiful lake with a jetty was a welcomed sight. If you plan ahead, you can bring your own picnic to enjoy on the lawn.
The 2009 Thunderchild Merlot/Cabernet/Cab Franc was the hit of this tasting. While not made on the vineyard, the grapes are grown on the grounds of an orphanage, Die Herberg, and 100% of the proceeds go to support the children. There is a restaurant next to the tasting room, and the onion rings coming out of the kitchen looked amazing. However, a friendly patron informed us that if we wanted to eat in the next hour, we should probably try somewhere else. So off we went.
At this point, it was time to check in to our new accommodation at Good Hope Farm (www.goodhopefarm.co.za). A working vineyard, they currently are not making their own wine but hope to start in the future. The farm is literally in the middle of nowhere, and has several cottages available. We stayed in the mountain cottage, which had a nice indoor fireplace and braai area.
In summer, this would be an awesome place to have all of your mates for a party. Next to the cottages is a giant boma with a pool and fire-pit, and there is literally no one around to complain about noise.
The possible best part of this place was the toilet. Just check it out:
The view on the toilet: