December 5, 2022

The Stellenbosch/Franschhoek area of South Africa is good for viticulture. Above, a household excursions the realm’s Leeu Property

There’s no contest. Australia’s Barossa Valley, Margaret River, and Mornington Peninsula, Napa Valley within the USA, Marlborough in New Zealand — all spectacular however no match for the Stellenbosch/Franschhoek area of South Africa.

It’s best summed up by former Springbok rugby participant Jan Boland Coetzee, once I requested him to explain to international travellers simply the place we had been geographically. ‘Simply inform them we’re 4 doorways from Heaven.’ This dramatic panorama of hovering granite mountains and luxurious, sweeping valleys is, because of the wealthy alluvial soils, supreme for viticulture.

Though the summers are scorching, fixed sea breezes soothe the south-facing slopes and the resultant wines are pretty much as good as you’ll discover wherever within the New World. The selection is gigantic, as there are greater than 130 wine farms within the Stellenbosch-Franschhoek space. The added bonus is that whereas the pound has softened in opposition to most currencies it stays sturdy in opposition to the South African rand.

THE BEST OF VINEYARDS

You can easily do tastings in four to five wine farms a day and find outstanding restaurants and accommodation in between on a tour around the Stellenbosch-Franschhoek area (above)

You’ll be able to simply do tastings in 4 to 5 wine farms a day and discover excellent eating places and lodging in between on a tour across the Stellenbosch-Franschhoek space (above) 

Production line: Sorting grapes for the country’s wine trade in the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley wine region

Manufacturing line: Sorting grapes for the nation’s wine commerce within the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley wine area

The Cape has vineyards from coast to coast and the number of wine types and terroirs is staggering — from the drylands of the Swartland to the luxurious, cool setting of the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley.

Nonetheless, the best focus is within the Stellenbosch-Franschhoek axis. That is most handy for wine vacationers who, by appointing designated drivers, can simply do tastings in 4 to 5 wine farms a day and discover excellent eating places and lodging in between. Tasting at these vineyards means you possibly can benefit from cellar-door gross sales, transport wines again to the UK or, in fact, including them to the circumstances you’re taking house.

MOUNTAIN-TOP HERMIT 

Set within the Simonsberg mountain vary, the Thelema Mountain Vineyards (above) has essentially the most spectacular views

Thelema Mountain Vineyards is without doubt one of the nice places, sitting on prime of the Helshoogte Move which connects Stellenbosch with Franschhoek. Thelema founder Gyles Webb, aka The Hermit on the Hill, takes a again seat nowadays whereas his son Thomas runs the present.

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Set within the Simonsberg mountain vary, it has essentially the most spectacular views.

It’s a very good place and, in case you’re fortunate, the Hermit will probably be round to impart a few of the knowledge for which he’s well-known (thelema.co.za).

TIME FOR LUNCH 

Haute Cabriere Wine Farm, pictured, is a superb place to have lunch and try wine. Picture courtesy of Creative Commons

Haute Cabriere Wine Farm, pictured, is an outstanding place to have lunch and check out wine. Image courtesy of Inventive Commons 

Pattern indigenous pinotage reds in addition to South African variations on pinot and chardonnay at Vriesenhof Vineyards (pictured) 

Haute Cabriere Wine Farm is on the reverse finish of the valley from Thelema, excessive on the Franschhoek Move. It is a very good place to have lunch and check out wine. The Property’s tasting room is underground, a cool inviting area to pattern Haute Cabriere’s relatively good Burgundy-style wines (the primary previous vine pinot noir was produced in 2020) and its much more well-known champagne (cabriere.co.za).

FRENCH CONNECTION

Jan Boland Coetzee’s property, Vriesenhof Vineyards, sits within the Paradyskloof Valley, on south-facing slopes beneath the Helderberg and Stellenbosch mountains. When the Springboks had been banned from rugby excursions overseas through the apartheid regime, Coetzee determined to stay and work in Burgundy, France, to be taught on the toes of the good pinot and chardonnay winemakers.

You’ll be able to style his South African variations on the theme on the property, in addition to the indigenous pinotage reds. Jan may even be round so as to add his vibrant tales to the go to (vriesenhof.co.za).

THE CHENIN BLANC KING

Expect to find dogs, horses, geese and ducks running amok while you relax under the oak trees and taste excellent wines at the Ken Forrester Wine Estate

Look forward to finding canines, horses, geese and geese operating amok when you loosen up below the oak bushes and style wonderful wines on the Ken Forrester Wine Property

TRAVEL FACTS

Graham Boynton travelled to the Cape winelands with The Final Journey Firm (theultimatetravelcompany.co.uk; 0203 733 0002) which might prepare tailored excursions of the Cape winelands.

The Ken Forrester Wine Property is additional throughout the valley from Vriesenhof. That is the place you’ll discover one other larger-than-life Cape winemaker, Ken Forrester, who turned himself from a vibrant Johannesburg restaurateur into Mr Chenin, an award-winning maker of the nation’s most trendy white.

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Look forward to finding canines, horses, geese and geese operating amok when you loosen up below the oak bushes and style Forrester’s wonderful wines… and never simply the chenin. An added bonus is his restaurant, 96 Vineyard Street. It’s usually cited as one of the best in Stellenbosch and isn’t removed from the wine property (kenforresterwines.com).

TERRACOTTA SYMPHONY 

Simply quarter-hour drive from Forrester’s is Waterford Wine Property, set within the Blaauwklippen Valley within the shadow of the Helderberg Mountains. This is without doubt one of the space’s most picturesque and tourist-friendly estates.

Within the center is a marvellous terracotta constructing, inbuilt basic Bordeaux type, which options an open courtyard the place the tastings happen and the place lunch could be loved on the outside restaurant. In 2021, Waterford was voted The Finest Cellar Door Expertise by worldwide wine critic Tim Atkin (waterfordestate.co.za).

TASTING NOTES

Time for wine: Taste some of the best wines made in South Africa at The Leeu Estate in the remote Swartland town of Riebeek Kasteel

Time for wine: Style a few of the finest wines made in South Africa at The Leeu Property within the distant Swartland city of Riebeek Kasteel

Intoxicating: Sip on wines produced by husband-and-wife team Chris and Andrea Mullineux at The Leeu Estate

Cheers: Staff at The Leeu Estate with Mullineux and Leeu wine

Intoxicating: Sip on wines produced by husband-and-wife staff Chris and Andrea Mullineux at The Leeu Property. Pictured proper are employees on the property posing with its wine  

On a visit to Leeu Estate, stay at Le Quartier Francais (above) - it's part of the estate and was once named ‘the best small hotel in the world’

On a go to to Leeu Property, keep at Le Quartier Francais (above) – it’s a part of the property and was as soon as named ‘one of the best small lodge on this planet’

You do not want to be a Leeu Property visitor to guide a tasting on the property’s Wine Studio. 

It’s the finest place to style the wines of the celebrated husband and spouse staff Chris and Andrea Mullineux, provided that their different base is the charming however extra distant Swartland city of Riebeek Kasteel. 

Right here you possibly can style a few of the finest wines made in South Africa.

A brief stroll down the street is 21-bedroom Le Quartier Francais, which is a part of the property and was as soon as named ‘one of the best small lodge on this planet’ (leeucollection.com). 

So the winelands await — over to you.

FROM LUXURY TO BUDGET… STAYING IN THE CAPE WINELANDS 

This collection of lodging is centred primarily in Franschhoek and all are a brief drive from the vineyards.

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Splash the money

Delaire Graff Property is English jeweller Laurence Graff’s luxurious creation excessive up on the Helshoogte Move which connects Stellenbosch and Franschhoek. The ten rooms listed below are known as ‘lodges’ and every is the scale of a small cottage. That is pure pampering and there are two excellent eating places. £1,300 per evening (delaire.co.za).

Downtown stylish

Leeu Home is a 12-room boutique lodge on Franschhoek Village’s excessive road. Only a stroll away from the artwork galleries, bars and boutiques that make up this cultured city.

Individually adorned bedrooms have fantastically comfy beds with high-quality linen. Rooms nearer to the principle street endure somewhat from site visitors noise — lorries late at evening. There’s a well-maintained backyard and pool space. £650 per evening (leeucollection.com).

Boutique discount

Le Cle de Montagnes is a boutique advanced of 4 villas in a wine and fruit farm, established by the French Huguenots in 1692. There are four-poster beds, roll-top baths and rooms that open onto verdant lawns. Only a quick stroll from Franschhoek village, the lodge’s petite rooms value £300 per evening (lacle.co.za).

Nation comforts

Half an hour’s drive from the centre of Franschhoek is Babylonstoren, one of many area’s oldest Cape Dutch farms, set on an enormous, sprawling vegetable farm and wine property that naturally affords recent meals and own-label wines. The cottages are comfy and elegantly designed by one of many homeowners, former Elle Ornament editor Karen Roos. £480 per evening mattress and breakfast for a farmhouse suite (babylonstoren.com).

Victorian retreat

L’Auberge Chanteclair is about within the Franschhoek valley with panoramic views of the vineyards and surrounding mountains. The Victorian farmhouse, with lofty ceilings and light-weight and ethereal rooms, lies in landscaped gardens with splendid oak and jacaranda bushes. The auberge is inside strolling distance of the centre of Franschhoek. £163 per evening mattress and breakfast for the standard room (chanteclair.co.za).

Guesthouse

Auberge Clermont is a trendy four-star guesthouse with six en-suite rooms, one in all which is a honeymoon suite. It additionally has a self-catering three-bedroom personal villa that’s good for households. £144 per evening mattress and breakfast for a deluxe room (clermont.co.za).