Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Wacky Wine Weekend 2013 wrap up: Day 1



I feel like each year I say this, but this year was by far my best Wacky Wine Weekend. Maybe it had something to do with the fact that I didn't camp, and instead snuggled in a nice warm bed in a cosy cottage in Mcgregor on Saturday night. Maybe it was because I brought a bunch of my favourite people with me (including some first-timers). Maybe it's because of the new wines we discovered... Let's just say it was a winning combination.


R60 to Robertson


The drive to Robertson from Cape Town is a beautiful trip – the waterfalls were in full flow and landscape green with splashes of fynbos. Loaded with coffee and excitement we left just after 9am. 

Of the three cars headed to Robertson, loaded with eager, thirsty friends, ours was the first to arrive. So hubby and I went to collect our passes and started tasting wine at the La Verne Boutique in the town of Robertson itself while we waited for our friends. We tried some nice reds from Burgershof and Bushmanspad - 2 wineries I hadn't heard of before. Once everyone was altogether and had sampled various wines, we decided it was time to plan our route.

For more info on Le Verne, visit http://www.lavernewines.co.za/

Outside La Verne Wine Boutiqe

Burgershof wines - I liked their Cab Sauv/Shiraz blend

Bushmanspad The Menno was great

Wellies adorned and ready for the imminent rainy weather

I, of course had already printed out my map, made lists of places to go and wines to taste – but the only thing that wasn't on our side was time. Leaving La Verne at 12, we went straight to Springfield to throw our first-timers into the swing of things and sample some excellent unoaked chardonnay.
By this stage it had started pouring with rain, so we crammed in and huddled by the fire as we took turns tasting the range of wines.
For more information on Springfield, visit: http://www.springfieldestate.com/

Kyle - the good guy to know at Springfield Wine estate. Follow him on twitter at @KyleLikesWine

The range of wines at Springfield Wine Estate - I liked the Wild Yeast Chardonnay and the Thunderchild

Wine tasting at Springfield - Wacky Wine Weekend
After Springfield we headed to Excelsior Wine Estate. I hadn't been there before and for ages wanted to blend my own wine – an activity the estate offers during Wacky Wine Weekend.
My work copy editing colleague and I blended a great red: 50% merlot, 40% cabernet sauvignon and 10% petit verdot. We called it Copy Cat Vino and will drink it together once the varieties have had some time to settle and marry in the bottle.
We also ate the tastiest chicken Cape Malay curry for lunch from one of the food stalls.
Gerald Clarke played live music, which created a great atmosphere while everyone huddled indoors avoiding the occasional rain.
I also enjoyed the Paddock Shiraz 2009 and the Cabernet Sauvignon.
For more information on Excelsior, visit: http://www.excelsior.co.za/#

Walking to Excelsior we saw the prettiest rainbow

Curry time at Excelsior

Blending our own wine at Excelsior estate

Bottling my own blend of wine at Excelsior estate

Our blended wine at Excelsior estate

Fun times at Excelsior winery at Wacky Wine Weekend
Next stop was Esona Winery. None of us had been to Esona before, so it was a lovely experience visiting this boutique winery for the first time.
They made a great dairy-free butternut soup, which we bought cups of for R15.
The group of us snuggled upstairs around the fire, sipping on soup and wine and enjoying our afternoon.
They have an awseom Shiraz and a great single vineyard Chardonnay. 
For more information on Esona, visit: http://esona.co.za/

Esona Wine Estate

upstairs at Esona's tasting room

Tasting Esona's wines at wacky Wine Weekend
After Esona we went to one of my favourite boutique wineries, which lies closer towards Bonnievale, called Quando Wines.
The tastings offered here were intimate and unlike some of the wineries where there are masses of people and tastings are impersonal. As we arrived, we sat ourselves down near the fire before Terrence from Siris Vintners took us through a tasting of the estates wine, providing us with information and anecdotes from the farm.
I love their Chenin/Viognier, Pinot Noir and Rose. They also make an excellent dessert wine. 
For more information on Quando, visit: http://www.quando.co.za/

Wine tasting at Quando Wines

Wine tasting at Quando - Yummy Pinot Noir

Wine tasting at Quando - we dried off nicely next to their fire!
Our last wine stop for the day was Arendsig.
By this stage I was certainly a little tipsy and 'in my cups'...
However, I tasted a couple more wines before we made our drive back to Mcgregor where we had book dinner and were staying for the night. I liked their Shiraz and Cabernet sauvignon.
They also had the most beautiful lab who followed us around thwacking us with his excited tail. 
For more information on Arendsig, visit: http://www.arendsig.co.za/wines/

Arendsig Wines

The friendly lab at Arendsig wines
We ended the night with a dinner at a lovely husband-and-wife team Aimee and Ryan (who previously headed up The Cellars-Hohenort's The Conservatory) restaurant called Karoux in Mcgregor. It's a quaint and cosy establishment, with a fair wine list and hearty winter dishes.
I had the mushroom risotto, which was rich, but beautifully balanced and flavoursome. Hubby had the lamb shanks, while others tried the slow-roasted pork belly and the beef steak.
Everyone raved about their food and it was a fantastic way to a fabulous, wine-filled Wacky Wine day....
After dinner we retired to the Overdraught pub, a tiny bar at McGregor Country House (about 2 blocks away), where we spent the night. 

For more information about Karoux Restaurant, visit: http://www.karoux.co.za/about-karoux-restaurant.php

lamb shank at Karoux Restaurant Mcgregor

mushroom risotto at Karoux Restaurant Mcgregor

Steak at Karoux Restaurant Mcgregor

Stay tuned for scenes from our next episode....
*ahem* Wacky Wine Weekend 2013 wrap-up: Day 2.

More more information on Wacky Wine Weekend, visit: http://www.wackywineweekend.com/

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