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Sunday, November 3, 2013

Winelands 9.3

View Wine Route 9.3 in a larger map

  • Delcare Graffiti Restaurant
  • Blaauwklippen Estate
  • Dormier Estate
  • Warwick Estate
  • Boschemdal Estate
  • Akademie Street Boutique Hotel & Guest house
  • Kalfi's Restaurant

After checking out of the Westine Hotel, we were on our way to the wine route.  I love visiting wine regions.  The scenery is always picturesque, the wineries are beautiful, and wine tasting along the way just enhances the whole experience.  What makes South Africa Wine Region special is the majestic mountain backdrop within close proximity to Cape Town. A short 25 minutes drive from Cape Town, we are in the heart of the wine land.  

Our lunch reservation was at Delaire Graffiti Estate. Delaire Graffit is a modern, luxurious property with vineyard, lodge, spa, and stunning views of the mountains.  It would be the perfect place for a weekend of R & R if I had a few extra thousand dollars to burn.  The good thing is you can also come here for the world class gourmet meal and the magnificent views that costs a lot less.   Our lunch was delicious and the service was excellent. 

After lunch, we stopped by Blaauwklippen Vineyards (a 300 year old rustic estate with a farm in the property), Dornier Wine Estate, Warwick Wine Estate, and Boschendal Manor house & Winery (another old estate with dutch style architecture).  

Since H was driving, we didn't do much wine tasting except Warwick Wine Estate, mainly because we wanted to try their red wines.  The South African wine tasting is an entirely different experience compare to the US wine tasting; in a good way.  It is a much more relaxing, enjoyable, and dignified experience. We sat at the outdoor table looking out to the valley and mountain, and tried a set wine tasting menu with a friction of the cost compared to the US wineries.  The tasting staff was knowledgable, attentive, and friendly.  I didn't remember if I had Pinotage before, but I had enjoyed the Pinotage I tasted on this trip. We sat by the outdoor patio taking in the beautiful scenery, drank good wines, heard interesting stories, and never felt rushed.  This is how wine tastings should be at all times.  

We arrived at Akademie Street Boutique Hotel & Guest House just short of 5 PM.  Akademie is a well maintained property sitting on a quiet street in Franschhoek.  Our second floor suite, Uitsig, was specious and airy, with a pantry packed with free snack & drinks, a bathroom with heated floor & towel rack, and a balcony looking out to the encircling mountains.   The courtyard with beautiful lemon trees, rose bushes, and other plants was idyllic that reminded me of the enchanting secret gardens in the children's books that I read when I was young. Unfortunately the weather was still too cold for us to use the swimming pool, but I could totally picture myself lounging around in this courtyard on a warm lazy summer afternoon. The host in Akademie had sent us plenty of information by email after we booked the room.  They even offered us a cellphone during our stay if we ever needed to call for assistance.  I thought that was a really nice touch.  

The hotel was so charming that we did not want to leave the room.  H took a nap while I took a bath.  At 7:30 PM, we finally walked out of the hotel. It was a quiet night and there was wood burning scent mixed in the fresh cool air everywhere.  Although we were told that it was safe to walk around town, there was barely anyone on the street and I did not feel completely comfortable walking on the street at times.  After the decadent lunch we had earlier today, we were in the mood for something more low key.  Kalfi's Restaurant with it's rustic ambiance and home cooking South African dishes was exactly what we were looking for.  We sat by the fireplace, ordered a bottle of Pinotage and more food than we could finish. The Cape Malay Bobotie (a South African Dish consisting of spiced Minced Meat baed with an egg-based topping) was hearty and full of flavor. The Warthog Schnitzel tasted just like the regular pork schnitzel.

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PREVIOUS: Cape Town 9.2

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