A day in the Durbanville winelands
September was a busy month for BWT, with us spending some time away from the winelands visiting friends and family in Durban. Limited time meant we had to think quickly on where to focus our “Off the beaten track tours” and went with an old faithful, the Durbanville winelands.
I have watched this area become increasingly popular over the last couple of years and on weekends these farms are just as busy as their counterparts in Constantia or Franschhoek. It’s with good reason too, apart from being very convenient from Cape Town, the choice of vineyards offering great wine and food has really blossomed. The area is well known for its Sauvignon Blanc but in my humble opinion produces some of the nicest Merlot too; De Grendel consistently producing great Merlot and the Hillcrest Quarry 2012 is just delicious.
First on our tour is the historical farm of Altydegedacht, with its rustic tasting room and one of the oldest working cellars in the country it exudes a lot of charm. If you’re interested in history like I am you will find several interesting things on display in the tasting room: firstly a copy of the original title deeds to the property signed by Simon van de Stel in 1698 , photographs of historical figures who have visited the farm such as Napoleon’s secretary Count de las Cases and a collection of stone age artifacts found on the farm.
This is also a real family farm, passed down to 5th generation Parker brothers John and Oliver. John has three daughters and Oliver three sons who I have come across working in the tasting room in the past when short staffed. I have even met grandmother, Jean in passing and this hands on approach is partly why I love to visit the farm and its on-site restaurant named Eat.
Now let’s get back to the wine; for R20 you can taste 7 of their wines and there is something to please just about everyone including some lesser known varietals like a dry Gewürztraminer and a Barbera, both pair very well with food. I also enjoy the Pinotage though some might find the smokiness a bit pronounced.
Next is Hillcrest farm, which produces top quality wine, olives and now also craft beer (beer currently only available in the restaurant). The tasting room is set up right next to the restaurant and the friendly staff will offer you a tasting of what is available on the day. We were lucky to get a sample of the Malbec and as mentioned earlier the Quarry Merlot. For those looking for an easy drinking inexpensive wine they also sell an unlabeled Bordeaux blend using their left over grapes, matured in 2nd and 3rd fill oak barrels. At R55 a bottle who can argue?
Last is the magnificent boutique winery, Klein Roosboom which offers a selection of easy drinking wines. The experience is what you really want to come for as this is a place to linger. Order a cheese platter to share and spend the rest of the afternoon in the company of friends. The tasting room is probably one of the most creative offering private little caves with exotic decorations or the alternative of seating in the sunny courtyard. It really is a must visit if only for the ambience!
If you enjoyed this blog, you may also enjoy this piece I wrote for Cape Etc magazine