25 November 2007

in vino veritas...

It's the truth. South African wine is fantastic! :-D

This was a happy day for everyone, especially Mini Wolfgang! It was the big wine tasting day! Woohoo!

But first, we had some morning drama. We were eating breakfast and boyfriend of feitpingvin heard a strange sound in the Moroccan room. He took a quick look and came back to the breakfast table, saying that a dove had managed to get into the room and was trying to fly out through the window, and that the dogs were rather curious. We grabbed our cameras as this was a potential charming photo op, and you could hear that something going on. But then suddenly... silence. We went to have a look, and the only thing you could see was Floyd with his nose buried in the sofa, with feathers flying everywhere; you could hear a muffled growl and chewing. Ugh...

Floyd had managed to capture the dove, and it looked like he was eating it. Who can blame him though... the doves like to get at his and Roxy's food dishes (placed outside). He was chomping and growling and shaking his head, releasing feathers... the cover on the sofa was stained with blood and bird crap, and after moving the sofa, we found the poor dove on the floor, badly injured... poor ting had to be put down, it was best that way...

We never expected that we would see this kind of a kill. Lions killing buffalo, sure, if we were lucky. But a dog killing a dove? Very freaky. It was kind of grotesque, but at the same time, overwhelmingly funny...

Darn, I could use some wine now ;-)

Robertson is the second largest wine producing region in South Africa, and is part of the Route 62 wine route, the longest in the world (and one of the most underrated activities in South Africa).

Our host at Robertson Backpackers was also our driver/wine guide. I'll just use his first initial (K.) as I'd like to avoid using people's names on blogs, even though his name is on his webpage. Anyway, considering it was Saturday and most places closed early, we managed to hit an impressive 6 wineries. Now keep in mind that I swallowed most of what I tasted, and what I ended up writing in my little notebook (if anything at all in the end) reflects this ;-)

It was kind of dangerous going to this place first, as it seemed to “ruin” us for everything else ;-)

Rusticus produces their wines the “old fashioned way” - quite literally. The owners (the Busch family) use restored antique wine-making equipment and machinery, with minimal use of modern technology. I don't know to what extent making wine this way makes the difference, but the wines here are beyond fantastic...

Mini Wolfgang visits Rusticus Winery!

(more cool photos of Rusticus on my flickr site)

This wasn't in the original plan, but K. hadn't visited the place before and it was along the way to the next stop, so why not?

The Robertson area is known for more than just wine. Among the other things Robertson is famous for – thoroughbred horses. Part of the Arabella estate is a stud farm. The horses we saw there were beautiful.

Mini Wolfgang visits the Arabella Wine Estate!

They're set right by the Breede River; it was very beautiful there. It's a popular picnic spot...

Mini Wolfgang visits Viljoensdrift Winery!

De Wetshof Estate
We tasted the best dessert wine ever – the Edeloes 2001. Too bad they didn't sell it, though they did let us take the bottle with the remaining contents – that was cool :-)

We did buy a bottle of a 2005 vintage to store though; can't wait to drink it :-) It was almost a disaster. The bottle we bought turned out to be defective, and it took several phone calls and several De Wetshof representatives trying to figure out where we were (we had been travelling here and there). But eventually, they caught up to us when we were in Johannesburg. We exchanged the bad bottle for a good one; everyone was happy :-)

Oh, we also bought a bottle of their lovely rosé wine...

Mini Wolfgang visits De Wetshof Estate!

Bon Courage
We were served a very lovely sparkling wine (cap classique), something we would have loved to take home with us had it been possible. Stupid, selfish fucks who keep the liquids ban going :-(

We had a very tasty lunch here – salad with smoked chicken and avocado, oranges, pineapple, nuts, and feta. This was washed down with sparkling red grape juice...

This was our last stop. They had a very lovely “Life from Stone” Sauvignon blanc.

Mini Wolfgang visits Springfield Winery!

We relaxed in the back yard when we were done with the wine tour, and Floyd (the proud hunter) and Roxy got their obligatory belly rubs. After drinking a small can of Lesothan beer (geez, more to drink? ;), I wanted to go for a walk. Boyfriend of feitpingvin didn't want to come along, so I explored the area on my own... no problems whatsoever. In fact, I noticed that there were very few people who had the typical high fences and/or walls and barbed wire. Everything was open, and you had the feeling of safety and tranquility. It was such a nice feeling...

And the area is sooo beautiful! Mountains, valleys, new flowers to let the world that spring had arrived... lots of birds... good stuff!

When I got back from my walk, I played with the dogs some more, and then we had a delicious red chicken curry for dinner (home cooked by our hostess), along with some of the wine we bought on one of the visits (don't remember what we had, and we didn't take notes). We also shared the remaining dessert wine. Darn, that was good stuff!

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