Uncork your new favorite wine route
Fancy a splash of Chardonnay? Or perhaps a little merlot? Whichever you’re into, you’re bound to find your favourite on a wine tasting tour. But where to go?
When you think ‘wine route’, Stellensbosch is probably one of the first places that come to mind. And that’s fair enough, considering that the historical town is comfortably surrounded by some of the most famous wine farms in the country. Some of you may say Franschhoek, just around the corner from Stellenbosch. This small town is known for its Michelin starred restaurants, French street names, and vast array of top quality vineyards.
But there’s a not-so-well-kept secret about another wine region, that’s fast becoming a favourite with oenophiles – The Hemel-en-Aarde valley.
Located just outside Hermanus, the route boasts 15 farms spread out over an easily-manageable 20 kilometres, boasting some of the most scenic views the Overberg has to offer.
What’s more, the 5-star Arabella Hotel & Spa is just a stone’s throw from the route, providing a perfectly luxurious base from which to explore the region. Take a look at this handy guide to making the most of your delectable wine-tasting experience in the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley.
On the road
Head for the R320 and let your wine journey begin! Just 300m down the road and you’ll have already reached your first stop. Hermanus Pietersfontein – named after one of the founders of the small fishing village of Hermanus – is known for its fun, laid-back atmosphere. Keep the cold at bay with Shiraz or Shiraz blends, and if you’re there on a Saturday, be sure to check out the food and wine market where you can sample all of their wines, along with other tasty treats.
Prize-worthy Pinot Noir
Next, follow the winding road up to Bouchard Finlayson while enjoying stunning views along the way. This is one of SA’s top wineries, and you’ll soon find out why. Step into the tasting room and prepare for a taste sensation with their flagship Pinot Noir, Galpin Peak, which has won plenty of top wine awards. Want more? This winery is also known for its fantastic Chardonnays and Sauvignon Blanc wines. Then satisfy your appetite with a delicious cheese and deli meat boards served with freshly baked bread.
Pretty in pink
Continue your journey around a hairpin bend where you’ll be greeted by a bright pink wall − a striking splash of colour in the green vineyards. La Vierge (The Virgin) tempts the senses with a cheeky Garden of Eden theme featuring seductively named wines such as Original Sin, Last Temptation and Jezebelle. What’s more, this fascinating winery features Dry-Land vineyards where no irrigation is used. It’s a technique they use to ensure the natural ageing of the vines, giving their wines a one-of-a-kind flavour you won’t forget.
Food that moves Heaven and Earth
By now you’ve probably worked up quite an appetite. And beautiful Creation Wine Farm knows just how to satisfy your craving. The Tasting Room pairs all their lunch dishes with the perfect wine. Tuck into succulent lamb cutlets with celery mash, sundried tomato and black cherry, while sipping on Creation Reserve Pinot Noir 2015 − described as a ‘gleaming garnet with an inviting bouquet of spice, peppercorn and clove, supplemented with a delicate whiff of dried apricot’. But why stop there? Indulge in the full tasting menu where all of the courses are expertly paired. And to finish things off, try the sumptuous chocolate and wine pairing – a match made in heaven!
Bust out the bubbly
What’s a wine tasting without some bubbles to liven things up a bit? Get ready to pop the cork at Domaine des Dieux. The first wine farm on the route to create an award-winning MCC, Domaine des Dieux does not disappoint with its Claudia Brut 2010. Described as being ‘synonymous with the celebration of life’ it’s the perfect way to end your amazing wine tour on a high note.