Sunday, December 03, 2023

South Africa Part V

Our first day in Franschhoek was all about wine - we were staying for a couple of days here which is in the Stellanbosch wine growing region in South Africa. They have a really cool wine trail which is part tram/part bus. We set off at 11:00 in the morning to taste some wine! Our first stop was at Leopard’s Leap Winery - a very cool and modern building caters for wine tasters. They gave us six wines to taste (small portions of course!) which were all delicious. We got the whole story on each wine from our excellent sommelier, but I quickly forgot everything. Too much information about smell and tastes was very confusing. I still can’t smell anything since getting Covid last year, so that part of the tasting was no good to me. Nevertheless, it was a pleasant way to start the tour and get going. I felt that I would be drunk by mid-afternoon. 

Leopard’s Leap.

Our second stop was at Rickety Ridge Winery where there was a more modest three glasses of wine to taste. I was only interested in red wine, but I did get to taste a nice Semillion here, again we had an excellent sommelier to give us all the information about each wine. We did some wine-influenced Christmas shopping too. It was also interesting here that the tram line was connected by tractor to the winery. I got a couple of photo ops with Massey-Ferguson and Ford tractors.

You can take a man out of a farm, but you can’t take the farm out of the man.

Enjoying the tractors.

I often wondered what it would be like to up-sticks from Ireland and buy a vineyard somewhere else in the world. It’s not a dream of mine, but when you are in verdant vineyards - there’s a part of me that would like to make wine, and of course drink it!

A would-be wine maker?

Our third stop was at Grande Provence Winery here we had lunch - with a glass of wine of course. At this stage I had already tasted 9 wines, I’m guessing that the portions added up to at least three or four glasses of wine. However, the tour was already stretched out over a few hours and I was not yet too tipsy! We didn’t go for tasting in Grande Provence and moved on to our fourth and last stop at Franschhoek Cellar. This was by far the least interesting of the stops. We had three wines to taste with accompanying chocolate. Our sommelier was not interested and the chocolate was nearly melted. Suddenly it was five o’clock and time for the last tram back to base. We had been on the wine tour for nearly six hours, but it did not feel like a pub-crawl.

Chocolate and wine.

Overall, the experience is definitely worth it. If you are in to wine, as I am, this is a must see/do. The town of Franschhoek is lovely, and the wineries are brilliant. Most staff were very informative and enhanced the experience.

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