The Cape Winelands located on the western side of South Africa, not far from Cape Town, produces wonderful red wines (e.g., Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Pinotage), whites (e.g., Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc) and even some lovely sparklers. Nicole visited with some girlfriends.
Some of the more well known areas, and the only ones Nicole was able to make it to, are Stellenbosch, Paarl and Franschhoek. Beautiful mountains, rolling hills, vineyards, and farms dot the picturesque landscape. In addition to the wine, there is also amazing food and beautiful places to stay. You could easily explore this area for days, weeks, months...
Nicole would (and will, she says) come back to the Winelands just for Babylonstoren. Not only do they grow and raise all their food on site, produce their own wines, maintain a spa and walking paths (one to a pond), they have thoughtful accommodations and impeccable service. To build the case further, she ate dinner one night next to Matthew McConaughey who was staying there with his family. She wants to go back now.
Lovely sparking wines in a beautiful setting next a pond. The winery also has a restaurant and offers onsite accomodation. Grab a glass from inside and sit outside at the picnic tables overlooking the pond.
While Babel is part of the Babylonstoren empire, this deserves it's own shoutout. If you are not fortunate enough to stay at the hotel, definitely check out the restaurant. The food is fresh from their farm, seasonal, inventive and tasty. Great selection of local wines as well.
Rust en Vrede was the first South African wine Nicole (and I) ever tasted. Ever since, the brand has held a special place for her. When in South Africa, she jumped at the opportunity to go to their restaurant. She's so happy she did! Fancy, seasonal, and fresh (and affordable!).
The Spice Route is a great place to sample local products in one location. Among the shops to check out, the coffee shop, brewery, chocolate and charcuterie artisans were Nicole's favorites.
During one of the days Nicole went wine tasting, she reserved lunch at Delaire Graff. They have a beautiful outdoor terrace, terrific views of the valley and wonderful food.
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Last visited: July 2015
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