After months of suffering through lockdown, Capetonians are finally allowed to leave the confines of their homes and enjoy a day out in the Mother City. To celebrate, Wine Flies Tours has opened its doors to locals looking to explore the many hidden gems in the Western Cape.
CapeTownETC recently had the pleasure of enjoying the Day Wine Tour which involved visiting a number of wine estates in the Stellenbosch and Franschhoek. The day started off bright and early at the designated pick up point where we were introduced to the fantastic tour guide and fellow guests enjoying the tour.
Once we had our temperatures checked and filled out the relevant contact tracing forms, the tour began. Our first stop was a quaint little wine estate called Mitre’s Edge, nestled in the foothills of the Simonsberg Mountain, between Paarl and Stellenbosch. Here we were introduced to expert winemaker Lola Nicholls, one of the top female winemakers in the greater Western Cape.
When we arrived at the estate we were led down into the underground cellar where we had our first tasting of the day. What a tasting it was. We were treated to five different red and white wines including a Viognier, Shiraz and an exquisite 2017 Merlot, each paired with a carefully selected piece of cheese meant to compliment the complex flavours of the wine, all whilst receiving an interesting history lesson behind each wine.
Once we wrapped up at Mitre’s Edge, the next stop on tour took us through the picturesque Franschhoek, home to just over 15,000 people. Once we arrived we were given the chance to stretch our legs and explore the town including a number of art galleries, markets, and restaurants.
After exploring, we headed off to Chamonix Wine Farm, home to one of the oldest blacksmith buildings in the Western Cape. Here we were treated to a collection of white and red wines, each paired with a delectable piece of biltong. Highlights include the 2020 Sauvignon Blanc and the un-wooded Chardonnay 2020. Both are fermented in stainless steel tanks for up to six months, giving them a light, citrus and floral flavour.
Once we had our fill of wine and biltong, we were taken on a once-in-a-lifetime tour of the historic underground cellar, which seemed like something straight out of the Middle Ages, filled to the brim with charm and character.
The next stop on our tour was the Rickety Bridge Winery where we enjoyed lunch along with another insightful wine tasting whilst overlooking the vineyards and the majestic Wemmershoek mountains. Highlights include the Rickety Bridge Shiraz, The Foundation Stone White wines and The Bridge Cabernet Sauvignon.
Our final stop on the tour saw us returning to Stellenbosch, where we were treated to a sweet dessert wine tasting at the Lovane Boutique Wine Estate, named after the isiXhosa word for chameleon ‘Ulovane’, due to the many chameleons found on the property. Once we arrived we were led to the last underground tasting room of the trip where we enjoyed five different red and white wines.
This time around the situation was slightly different though. The previous wine tastings all involved a wine being paired with a food that complimented each other. At Lovane however, each wine was paired with a contrasting piece of chocolate to demonstrate how vastly different flavours can work together. The sweet Cape Ruby 2017, made from 100% Cabernet Sauvignon grapes, for example, was paired with bitter dark chocolate, which in theory should not work at all, but once tried together created a whole new flavour profile. We were also given a brief tour of the Lovane wine cellar, home to thousands of bottles of maturing wine.
And with that, our day exploring the Stellenbosch and Franschhoek came to an end. The tour was extremely insightful and unbelievably fun.
If you’re interested in booking your very own wine tour around the Western Cape, simply visit www.wineflies.co.za or contact +27 (0) 21 462 8011 or +27 (0) 72 916 8035 to make a booking.
Picture: Kyro Mitchell