Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Wellington Weekend away





For the first time in as long as I can remember, my fiance and I went for a weekend away together, where neither of us had work or work-related projects of any kind.
I had also been lucky enough to win a voucher from Diemersfontein wine estate (www.diemersfontein.co.za). So without a doubt, we made for Wellington – an area I don't usually venture into unless I'm going to Pinotage on Tap, which happens to be at Diemersfontein anyway.

We stayed in a lovely garden cottage overlooking the garden and pool area. Thank goodness there was air conditioning because it was well into the 30s, and not a breeze to sooth the heat.
The shower was large enough to comfortably fit two ;-) and as there was no TV and the cottage was set away from the manor house, it made for a romantic weekend indeed...

On the Friday night we ate at the estate's restaurant. I had peri-peri chicken livers to start followed by grilled line-fish and vegetables, while my partner had stuffed mushrooms followed by a steak (they only had sirloin). The highlight was the malbec 2005, R195 per bottle - it was so delicious!! I bought another bottle to take home with me... and of course some of their famous pinotage.

The next day we went in search of wine farms we'd never been to before. First stop was Ridgeback (www.ridgebackwines.co.za), a boutique winery just 6km outside of Wellington. It was such a pleasant surprise. the setting was like an oasis in the middle of the dessert. We had lunch overlooking the pond, watching the swans gracefully glide about while we sipped on excellent viognier and my favourite: His Masters Choice shiraz. It's R15 per tasting of five wines (R25 for 10 wines).

We then had some great advice and help with planning the next few stops, the only problem was that most of the wine estates close at 2 or 3pm, so we only managed to visit one other, Underoaks (www.underoaks.co.za). they have an incredible little pizzeria, although we had already eaten, so we stuck to sampling the wine. I really enjoyed their chardonnay, so we added a couple more bottles to the increasing 'clinking' boot.

Mr fabulosity and G-star had joined us by this point and so we all missioned back to Diemersfontein for further wine tasting (they stay open til 5pm on Saturday) and a swim in the pool.
As there were so many delicious wines to try, the tasting room kindly stayed open an extra half and hour to accommodate us. The tasting was free, but we were staying over, so I'm not sure if it would be free for all visitors. The pool was heavenly though, and we swam for about 2 hours, sipping on pinotage every now and then, before deciding to venture off into the town for dinner.

Driving out of Wellington we stopped at Oude Wellington (www.oudewellingtonrestaurant.co.za), where they offer brandy and wine tastings. Although we had missed the times. We ordered a bottle of their cabernet sauvignon, which was very average, and fairly sharp (R130). However, the food was excellent. My fiance and I shared a starter and a main: a watermelon salad things, which I can't remember much about, except that it blew my little taste-buds away and a pepper-crusted beef fillet with straw chips.

After a english (hangover-cure) breakfast on Sunday we sadly left Diemersfontein (with bottles of pinotage) and started on our way home. The first stop, just a few kilometers away was Rhebokskloof (www.rhebokskloof.co.za). It was R15 for 4 wines, and we particularly enjoyed the sandstone chardonnay and the shiraz/grenache blend.

We stopped again in Paarl at Laborie (laboriewines.co.za), starving and hot as hell. We opted to sit indoors, simply because of the aircon. The newly launched Harvest restaurant was fairly impressive. I had a lovely rump steak and my fiance had a delicious calamari dish. The view from Harvest is lovely and the restaurant is charming. Although the chardonnay didn't blow me away.

Finally it was home time. We could hardly carry all the wine we bought back into the house, but it was well worth it, and I hope it won't be too long until I visit Wellington again.

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