We take a slight detour to the (unpronounceable) Vergelegen. As I am driving we pass on the wine tasting, but who needs wine – the house, gardens, and mountain scenery are all stunning. And there is no wind!
In my minds eye Stellenbosch is a quaint little town with wide avenues and white houses. When we arrived at Friday lunchtime it was like being back at home on the M25! We eventually make it our guest house and then go for a bite to eat, and a walk around, the now much quieter, town.
Stellenbosch at night has a lovely relaxed feel with a number of cafes and bars and after some dinner at a Cuban restaurant we wander round Church Street and surrounding streets. This is something we missed doing in Cape Town; we felt perfectly safe at night but not inclined to go too far from Kloof Street, nor was there much to see or do in any case.
The Vine Hopper tour is advertised as a hop-on hop-off service but in reality was like having a personal driver for the day – excellent value at R170 each. We were picked up from our guest house and our first stop is Bergkelder. An excellent stop as we learnt about French oak barrels – and something to do with the number of uses – before a cellar and tasting tour where we tried 5 fleur du cap wines. 10.30AM must be too early because none of the wines did much for me at the time but when we had a bottle at Addo it was really nice.
Next stop Beyerskloof where we tried 9 different wines all with pinotage (including a couple of whites) and some pinotage salami. By now I was learning that you did not have to drink all of it…you can tip some of it away.
Then onto my favourite winery, Simonsig. Definitely no tipping away here! We particularly liked the cap classique a bought a bottle of the Cuvee Royale for Christmas.
Our driver then changed the order of the tour for us so that we could have lunch at Delheim – delicious snoek fish cakes in the company of weaver birds, before a final wine tasting at Muratie and a quick stop at Devlera where we tried some olives and had a walk round the gardens.
I am normally a red wine drinker and whilst I enjoyed the reds in SA I did not have any wines that really “wowed” me. I did though really enjoy the whites and in particular the Sauvignon Blancs. I do not know if this is a proper wine term but a number of them had a nice zingy flavour.
We had wondered when booking our holiday if to visit Stellenbosch as a day trip from Cape Town but I am really glad we did not a spent a couple of nights there.