What better way to celebrate the explorer team’s anniversary than with a weekend of exploration, sponsored by and designed by the Photog. I love surprises (I think I might have mentioned that before) so when we woke up on Saturday morning and packed the car I was one happy bunny.
We made our way into the winelands along the Paarl wine route and I got more excited. Just the thought of good wine does that to me, no matter the time of morning. I was a tad worried about the effects of it on an empty stomach though, I have not been known to hold my wine tastings well.
But when we stopped at the lovely Fairview I first saw they had goats (cue squeal of delight) and then saw they had a restaurant. A quick and tasty breakfast at The Goatshed was just what I needed before we made our way into the cellars. Cue another squeal of delight when I saw there was cheese.
Eight different kinds to be precise along with a tutored tasting of eight wines – all for just R60! It was the obvs choice. The tasting was in the cellar in a private room with two expert sommeliers. The more casual tastings take place at free standing bars dotted around the cellar. Our sommelier Janene was a treasure and we tasted some truly magnificent wines, wonderful cheese and even had three kinds of olive oil to cleanse our palates between wines. She even gave us a extra tasting of the unusual wine we wanted to try, the Pegleg Carignan, along with some cheese of course. This was an amazing wine. I love finding and tasting unusual varietals. The Photog was in heaven with all the Shiraz.
What a perfect start.
After waving goodbye to the goats the Photog drove us on to our next destination along the Wellington wine route, a boutique wine farm Dunstone. The Photog chose it for the dog logo, a novel way to choose wine farms I think. No puppy was to be seen but he was probably busy in the cellar.
The third wine farm was Bergsig which was on our trip for it’s ports. Nothing like a good port, especially in the Cape winters in front of a fire – the Photog knows me well.
I still had no clue as to where we would be spending the night but I was glad when we got on our way, a nap is needed after 3 tastings as I’m not the kind of girl to spit. I kept trying to guess until we drove into a quaint town with a sign that read “Tulbagh“. I’d never heard of it, much to the Photog’s disbelief, and I was thoroughly charmed when I saw the street we were staying on lined with beautifully restored Cape Dutch houses. In fact these houses bestow the honour on the street of having the most national monuments on a single street in the country.
We stayed in one of the restored monuments, De Oude Herberg and were given a very warm welcome by the owner, his dog and cat. Beautifully furnished with a huge, very comfortable bed, I had to tear myself away to go for a walk along the street and find a place for dinner.
And find a place we did. The Belgian Kitchen on Church street was a cozy, eclectic eatery with delights such as Belgian beer, mussels and some ironic art on the walls. Ah the mussels. I’m salivating as I write this.
With a good night’s rest after such a feast we were ready for a second day of exploring and wine tasting (the theme of the weekend which I hope you got by now). We visited the magnificent Doolhof easily one of the most beautiful wine farms I’ve ever seen. And then we went small with a tasting at Lemberg a boutique wine farm in Tulbagh and one of the few open on a Sunday. It was warm and friendly with effusive greetings by a herd of Bulldogs. There’s something to be said for the smaller cellars and the more personal tasting experience.
Then I rolled/sloshed into the car, declared it to be the best anniversary ever and dozed off as I was driven home.