Tag Archives: Wineries

Stellenbosch: First Impressions Part II (more photos)

This is Part II of my first impressions of Stellenbosch. You can find the first part here. We visited Stellenbosch as guests of Stellenbosch Wine Routes.

We left the previous post with our tasting at Stellekaya, from which we headed over to Middelvlei Wine Estate. Middelvlei’s Jeanneret and Ben Momberg waited for us with a special treat: We got to make our own Cape Blend from basic 2013 Pinotage, Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz wines!

Winegetters and Ben Momberg

We had so much fun figuring out what percentages should go into the “Winegetter Selection” (in this one I am adding some sugar).

Blending at Middelvlei

After we’d found our blend, I got to fill it into a bottle and personally cork it. The bottle awaited us, with a personal label and properly capped, at our next hotel.

Corking our Cuvee

After Middelvlei, we had some time left on our hands, so I decided to make use of the gorgeous bathtub in our room at Evergreen Manor and Spa. Abrie, the winemaker at Kanonkop, had given us the open bottle of 1999 Pinotage from the tasting, and it was perfect…

Kanonkop Bathtub

After this short respite, we headed over to Kleine Zalze where the assistant winemaker Dirk led us through a tasting, which once more showed strong Chenin blancs.

Kleine Zalze

Dinner that night was at Terroir, which is the restaurant at Kleine Zalze. The food was stunning visually and how it was executed. This is a lemon bar for dessert.

Dessert at Terroir

This is a random sunset, taken at Kanonkop.

Sunset at Kanonkop

The next morning, we took a tour with Hanli Fourier of Bites and Sites. She offers walking history and food tours, and man were we in for a treat. We got Biltong (the South African version of beef jerky) and Droewors (a dried sausage) at Eikeboom Butchery, the oldest in town (we’re posing with the butcher here).

At the Butcher Shop

After coffee, we headed to ZAR Tea Emporium for a Roibos tea tasting and class with Fazlin Railoun. What great fun and how tasty! We bought a kilo to take home. ‘nuff said.

Rooibos Tasting at ZAR Tea Emporium

Also, apparently I was getting a little sick of all those photo takings…:) The other two look splendid.

ZAR Tea Emporium

From there, we headed to Rustenberg winery with its stunning views set among the hills of Stellenbosch. Murray Barlow took us on a vineyard tour and then shared some of their treasures with us.

Rustenberg Vineyard Tour

Next stop was Delheim Wine Estate, another gorgeously set winery. They pride themselves in accessibility and family-friendliness and their pancake and wine pairing as well as the cupcake and wine pairing was fun, educating and super tasty.

Pancake Pairing at Delheim

Our last night we stayed at Wedgeview Country House and Spa, where they gave us the honeymoon suite just in time to prevent a break up that was a definite priority before kickoff of the US v. Germany game in the World Cup that night. The US lost, but advanced, so no breaking up was necessary. And no, I didn’t wear this sweater for photo purposes.

At Wedgeview

We had dinner at Spier Wine Farm’s restaurant, where we reminisced about the trip and started saying good bye to Stellenbosch in style…

Dinner at Spier

The next morning we did a surprise visit to Ken Forrester Vineyards after my German friend Christian of the Mosel winery Dr. Hermann told me they sold their wines. I just love our worldwide wine friendships…

Wine friends around the world

While there, we were treated to some of the best Chenin blancs I have had, most notably the FMC.

At the Chenin Man Ken Forrester

We also headed back to Kanonkop to take a few bottles of the currently re-released 2004 Pinotage we tried at the tasting. While there, Nina took a photo of me with my new best friend: Paul Sauer in its 18 liter version.

Winegetter and 18 liters of Paul Sauer

We then tried to figure out the logistics of taking wines back to Europe…not an easy task, really. Turns out we had to drink a bunch of them while still here…

Logistics of packing our stash

After that it was time to say good bye as we headed to Cape Town for more adventures. But most of all: rehydration.

The Winegetter in Cape Town

If all of these photos haven’t given you ample reasons to visit Stellenbosch, I seriously don’t know what’s wrong with you…;)

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Quick update from Germany

My hometown's church

My hometown’s church

Dear friends,

just a quick update from Germany, some of you have asked how things are going.

It’s great to be back for a visit, and I am enjoying it a lot. Right after my arrival, which for various reasons brought me to the Stuttgart airport, in the south of Germany, I went to visit the Württemberg winery Kistenmacher und Hengerer. Winemaker Hans Hengerer and his wife Sabine opened their doors for me on a Sunday (after I told them that I could imagine that they had better things to do on a Sunday morning), and I spent a good three hours there. What do I say? A great three hours. We tried a host of wines, from their Rieslings to all the local varietals Clevner, Samtrot, Gelber Muskateller, a bunch of Pinot Noirs…

I am not familiar with that particular region of German wine growing, but it felt like a great introduction. I will write more about the winery shortly.

Now I am back in native Rheinhessen region, enjoying what I miss so much: the sight of Father Rhine, the vineyards on the other side, German bread, rolls and sausage meats, and just simple, enjoyable local wines. My mother and I have been hitting the theater trail, went to see Neil LaBute’s stunning, disturbing, incredible piece Bash. If ever you get a chance, I highly recommend it!

The coming weekend and some will be spent at my beloved Mosel, with seeing friends, more eating and drinking (naturally) and I am lucky to have scored tasting times at the estates Reinhold Haart (Piesport), Immich-Batterieberg (Traben-Trarbach), Kurt Hain (Piesport), Meierer (Kesten), Günther Steinmetz (Brauneberg) with room for a few more. One evening will be spent tasting some Finger Lakes Rieslings I brought with my good friend ManSoo. As you can see, most of the action will be surrounding wine…and more wineries will be visited the following week (St. Urbanshof, Karl Erbes, and Dr. Hermann).

I am truly excited about this mix of old friends and new wineries, and am looking forward to what 2012 has brought.

The biggest bummer so far has been that a tentative meeting up for joint tasting with my good friend and fellow blogger Stefano of Clicks and Corks has not come together…it would have been awesome to share these moments with him, but we both will make do, and I am looking forward to share German wine country with him another time.

That’s it for now. I hope I will get to shoot some more articles in my pipeline out over the next days and am looking forward to presenting new wineries to you soon.

Trier as seen in summer 2012 (structures left to right: Imperial Basilica from the 300s, Citizen Church from the 1300s, Cathedral foundations dating back to 300s)

Trier as seen in summer 2012 (structures left to right: Imperial Basilica from the 300s, Citizen Church from the 1300s, Cathedral foundations dating back to 300s)

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