My favourite wine route—of the many gorgeous ones we have—is the Robertson Wine Valley which lies in the embrace of two magnificent mountain ranges, the Langeberg and those called Riviersonderend. This is just the place to while away four or five days, or less if you don’t have that sort of time, in one of the most superb settings you will find anywhere.
The valley, in which the towns of Bonnievale, Ashton, Robertson, McGregor, and their Victorian cousin, Montagu, are the focal points, contains a multitude of activities to suit all tastes. The Breede River meanders gracefully through the region, and on its banks you will find some very interesting wine estates. One of these is Viljoensdrift which has a landing stage on the river. A Craft is moored and it is a real treat to order some things from their deli, like smoked salmon trout, some cheeses and a French baguette, and float royally down the river. Ice cold wines from their tasting rooms complete a picture of country relaxation at its best. In the area of Bonnievale, you will also find estates like Van Loveren, De Wetshof, Bon Courage, Weltevrede, and many others.
On the Bonnievale road you will be astounded by the spectacular display of cannas, which are used to demarcate the vineyards and orchards of the different estates. Vividly colourful in scarlet, deep pink and glorious yellow, and growing sensationally tall, they look as if one of the resident artists has taken a brush to them. The area is also home to some of the finest horse stud farms in South Africa, the rocky soil apparently giving the grazing particular bone strength for the horses. Here are some great tasting rooms to slake the thirst for good wine.
Here you will find some of the finest Chardonnays, not only in SA, but the world. The elegant Georgian façade of the Manor House signals taste and refinement at their very best for this historic family, whose wine lineage goes back many generations. The current custodians of the legend are shaping up perfectly much to the delight of Danie and Lesca DeWet, who now have some well-deserved time to slow down –just a bit. Standout Chardonnays in a field of champions are The Bateleur, a superb contender made from the same single vineyard since 1991, The Site, barrel fermented and the Limestone unoaked, fresh as today’s news and a whole lot more fun. Don’t miss the bubblies, especially the Pinot Noir Brut, bottle fermented and irresistible. This is also the home of the bi annual Celebration of Chardonnay that attracts huge international attention with guests arriving from all over the world.
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The home of some truly delicious wines—no nonsense, very well priced quaffers that will not tear a hole in the pocket. In the summer they have a bring your own picnic basket and enjoy a free wine tasting under the tees overlooking the vineyards which sounds like a very good deal to me. Wines to try are two good whites, Chenin and Sauvignon Blanc, an excellent Pinotage and some great fortifieds like the irresistible White Muscadel.
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With some of the very best bubblies in the country made by Maestro Philip Jonker as well as some much loved stickies like Ouma en Oupa se Wyn, this is just the ticket for rocking away on your stoep as the sun sets. There is a small restaurant at which you can get something to go with the fabulous wines and the feeling of tranquillity is all pervasive. The two bubblies not to be missed are the one called Entheos and The Ring as fresh and crisp as a morning sunrise. The Chardonnay called Place of Rocks is justly famous in the right circles. There is also self-service accommodation here should you decide to linger—something you should do.
This delightful place, the historic home of the Bruwer family, has a good restaurant anchoring the whole experience where you can let out your belt a bit and relax country style. If you want to order a cheese platter to go with your tasting it can be done. The vast range of wines to be tasted can be daunting but the expert staff will guide you through it without any problem so let them do just that .Not to be missed are the bubblies—award winners and superb. Other well priced favourites include a delicious unwooded Chardonnay, a fragrant dry Gewürztraminer, and a superb Late Harvest. The Pepper Tree Shiraz has typical spicy notes and the White Muscadel is a perennial favourite.
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A name known all over SA thanks to their ubiquitous Four Cousins range of wines, today the estate offers as far as I can tell no fewer than 150 different products. The shaded tasting area is a haven of peace and quiet and the bistro is prefect for lunch and lazy afternoons in the country. If you are more energetic go for a tour through the cellars, or check out the hiking or biking trails available. If you want to rent a bike, it can be done. The wines range from MCC bubbly, through great Reserve Reds to good whites, Rosés, stickies, brandies , even non-alcoholic wines, whatever your little heart could desire wine wise they have. Newish additions are Gins, Whiskies, and —wait for it—beers!
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