A Grand Day Out

We did the touristy thing today and headed out to Simondium, on the outskirts of Franschhoek.

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A quick stop at Dalewood Fromagerie for some of their award winning Huguenot cheese was followed by a visit to Solms Delta,where we were helped out by the chatty and informative Leon.

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Then on via Vrede en Lust – lovely architecture, disappointing wines – for lunch in The Glasshouse at Babylonstoren. Because when it’s 43C in the shade, a long walk through some kitchen gardens is exactly what you need. Lunch was exactly what I needed though and it was really good.
And then home on the chaotic N1 and straight into the pool and a cold beer.

My camera is on enforced leave at the moment getting repaired, so I’m relying on my phone to record the holiday. It’s ok, but it’s not as good as my camera. That said, my camera isn’t great at making phone calls, so I guess all’s fair etc etc.

Great wine

Incoming from Getwine:

In the nearly seven years of Getwine’s existence we have had some fantastic flagship unlabelled wines from farms such as Rustenberg, Saxenburg, Buitenverwachting, Morgenhof, Delaire and many more. These top wines come and unfortunately also go, for example the Asara Ebony that we recently sold the last bottle of.

But like I said, there are always new wines that are offered to us and I must say that I am very, very excited about a range of ultra premium unlabelled wines that recently arrived at our Getwine depot from a well known wine estate in Franschhoek, which we are unfortunately not allowed to mention.

The three wines are listed below.

Select Cabernet/Pinotage 2007 @ R65 per bottle.
Regular cellar door price: R118
Platter * * * * 1/2 – Typical expression of a well structured unique South African blend. Flavours of mulberries, cassis, cinnamon, cloves and cigar box. Silky soft but well structured tannins with loads of berry fruit and spices on the palate.

Select Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 @ R69 per bottle.
Regular cellar door price: R187
Platter * * * * – Cedarwood and cigarbox flavours combined with rich dark berry fruit on the nose. Cassis, mulberry and spices on the palate. A full bodied, firmly structured wine with concentrated fruit, a balanced mouth-feel and a fresh after-palate typical to the Firgrove terroir from which the grapes derive.

Select Shiraz/Viognier 2007 @ R69 per bottle.
Regular cellar door price: R235
Platter * * * * 1/2 – This wine shows meaty spiciness, ripe dark berry fruits and beautiful floral aromas. The integration of the Viognier supports and enhances the rich and ripe flavours of the Shiraz, while softening the tannin structure. A full bodied wine with depth, complexity and elegance.

You don’t have to think too hard to see where these wines are from and what they might be. All of which means that you can see what an amazing deal this is. Stocks are probably limited, which is why I’ve got my order in before I hit the PUBLISH button.

Add to that Getwine’s legendary service and you could be sipping red like a boss by this time tomorrow. You’d be silly to miss out – tell them I sent you.

Snails, Cheese and Wine. And Rain. And Footy.

It’s been a wet weekend. Very wet.
Latest figures from Kirstenbosch suggest that they weren’t really expecting rain at this time of year and forgot to put the rainfall gauge out. But if they had have done, it would have been full. And that’s a lot of water.
I would look it up on the SA Weather Service site, but since it got “upgraded” it’s worse than useless.

Aside from a trip to the supermarket, we stayed in. As you would have done as well.
Mrs 6000 and her chums were due to take some horses out through the vineyards in the spring sunshine, but after the spring sunshine failed to pierce the thick grey clouds above and all around us, apparently even the horses were moaning about it being cold and wet (98% relative humidity 13.8°C at 3pm), and thus a semi-impromptu cheese and wine party took the places of the ruiterkuns. Which was nice.
Especially since we didn’t invite the horses.

The wet weekend flickr set.

Snails, cheese, wine and bathing the kids gave me limited opportunity to watch Chelsea and Man U, but I did get to see the goal and yes, it was a foul; no, Drogba wasn’t offside and no, he wasn’t interfering with play anyway. And yes, actually I am a qualified referee, so **** you.
I’m sure Fergie and the Man U fans won’t be happy, but to be perfectly honest, who really gives a toss about what they think? Deep down inside they’ll be happy to have something to moan about, anyway.  

And so it’s onward and upward (the stairs, to bed), with a week full of grey, wet weather to look forward to. Happy days.

Our wine, your wine

Living in South Africa has many advantages: the weather, the nice people, the lack of Gordon Brown, the amazing scenery and – especially for us folk down in the Western Cape – the easy access to some great wine.
I know you can get South African wine in the UK as well, but let me make this abundantly clear: there is the South African wine that gets exported to the UK for sale in Tesco, Asda and Thresher and there is the South African wine that we keep here for ourselves.

Sadly, there seems to be a new trend developing: to try and sell those commercially-named “export” wines over here, presumably on the grounds that if it’s good enough for Tesco, it’s good enough for the South African public. And we’re more used to the easy to understand wine nomenclature of <vineyard> <cultivar>, we’re starting to see ridiculous brand names like Railroad Red and Tall Horse appearing on the supermarket shelves of Constantia Pick n Pay – usually in the household cleaners and solvents aisles.

Step forward Flagstone Longitude. I’m not sure where it came from, but it ended up in our kitchen and it bears all the hallmarks of one of those “wines for over there”: Silly name, absence of any named vineyard, importer in Guildford on the back and that all important management style bullshit for people to read at their London dinner parties and nod pseudo-sagely.

Effortless access to masses of information and penetrating technology characterise our modern life. Yet, the more time-saving devices, the less time we seem to have. The more accurate our satellite navigation, the less we know of our origin… [etc etc etc… continues for another twenty minutes without actually making any reference  whatsoever to wine.] 

Oh do [shut up]*.

Flagstone Longitude is a red blend. For the novices among us, that means that there is more than one variety of grape in there. No problem with that, some of my favourite wines are red blends, especially the “Big Reds”, Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz and Merlot. I have to say though, most of my favourites tend to have two or three grapes in there, rather than the… er… eight in here:

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That’s: Cabernet Sauvignon 53%, Shiraz 31%, Tannat 6%, Malbec 5%, Petit Verdot 2%, Cabernet Franc 1%, Pinotage 1%, Merlot 1%. Wow.
Strangely reminiscent of our recent election results, with the leading cultivar just failing to secure a two-thirds majority thanks to Shiraz’s last-ditch “Stop Cab Sauv” campaign.

Presumably, those dinner party guests in Hampstead will muse over the unbelievable skill of the vintner in adjusting the delicate balance of the blend by adding subtle  “1%” touches of Merlot and Pinotage. Ja right.

Just so you know (because we know) you’re drinking our leftovers. Enjoy!

* careful and sensible self-censorship in case my mother reads this.