7 different ways to taste the Robertson Wine Valley

Posted by Nandi Majola on 12 March 2018

The advantage of living in Cape Town is that an adventure is just an hour or two away.

Two girls from Durban (my friend Kirsten and I) got to explore the magic of Robertson during it’s Hands-on Harvest Festival and explore McGregor too. We had the whole weekend, but it’s equally fun as an easy day trip from the city.

 

1. Wine tasting at Le Roux and Fourie Vignerons

Flag ‘n’ Wine World is a flag labyrinth outside the tasting room. There are more than 220 flags and the aim is to learn about the countries and their flags. Photograph supplied.

‘Isn’t it a bit early for wine tasting?’ It was 10:00 in the morning after all and sommelier student, Shaun Windvoël was slightly concerned. In our defence, we were being obedient tourists and following the itinerary, but also, we just couldn’t resist the some weekend wine.

Shaun took us through the history of brothers Johan and Le Roux Fourie. They started making wine on Buitenstekloof farm to honour their French Huguenot roots. I’ll be honest – I still can’t figure out what ‘terroir’ meant, but I know that the limestone deposits influenced the wines we were tasting. There were also some interesting blends like Pinotage Rosé, which is very good if you’re not a fan of Rosé but still want something light.

Things to do: hike, walk or climb the Langeberg Mountains. Le Roux and Fourie Vignerons is part of the Rooiberg Breede River Conservancy  There is also a café selling homemade chicken pies, bacon rolls and muffins from about R22.
Cost: R20 per person for wine tasting. There are also artisanal products on sale.
Contact: 0236265376 or email [email protected]

 

2. Grappa at Tanagra Private Wine Cellar

Tanagra homestead and wild fig tree. Photograph supplied

At Tanagra we were closer to McGregor and on the border of the Klein Karoo. This time we were not only in for wine tasting but Eau de Vie and grappa too. Technically, it’s really called ‘marc’ though because, like champagne, it’s only called grappa if it’s from Italy.

Kirsten and I loved the glasses in which the marc/grappa was served. It felt like being in a science lab as our minds and senses were introduced to this liqueur. My favourite was the orange infusion, which I was told goes well with dessert. The outside of the distillery looked like an idyllic shed, very different to the spaceship-like interior where we learned all about the distillation process.

Tanagra also makes unique blends like Carah, a Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah blend and a full-bodied, fruity wine from the Colombard cultivar. Their wines are fermented with natural yeast and as a boutique winery they always try to create something you won’t find easily elsewhere.

Thing to do: walking, hiking and mountain biking trails on Tanagra farm and surrounds. Birding enthusiasts will enjoy the variety of birds and there is a list on their website.
Cost: wine and marc/grappa tasting is R20 per person.
Contact: 0236251780 or email [email protected]

 

3. Bubbles and more at Lord’s Winery

There are many Protea varieties at Lord’s Winery. Photograph supplied

In McGregor we had the best MCC Brut that I have ever tasted thanks to Lord’s Winery. In fact, their MCC Brut Rosé has won many awards, but it’s their Pinot Noir and Chardonnay which has made them famous. Their vineyards are 500 metres above sea level, making them the highest in Robertson Valley.

Live jazz vocals floated from a white marquee tent filled with locals who had come to celebrate the harvest. A food truck serving delicious burgers replenished our energy and we enjoyed conversations with people who had come from all over South Africa.

We also toured the cellars at Lord’s, (bubbly in hand) and learned about how the owner’s love for cricket inspired the winery’s name. Lord’s Winery is open weekdays from 08:30 to 16:00 and on Saturday from 10:00 to 15:00. They are closed on Sundays.

Cost: R50 per person for wine tasting
Contact: 0236251265 or email [email protected]

 

4. Olive oil tasting at Marbrin Olive Growers

View from tasting room. Photograph supplied

With a full day of wine tasting behind us, it was time to explore olives and, more specifically, extra virgin olive oil.

When we arrived at Marbrin Farm, the Langeberg and Riviersonderend Mountains were astounding, even to the locals with us, and I knew then we were in for a good evening. The thought of gulping down olive oil seemed a bit strange at first, but Clive (owner) brought out freshly baked bread to dip into the oil instead. By the end, I could have enjoyed the olive oil alone it was that flavourful.

Clive’s charisma and knowledge definitely transformed the way we looked at olive oil and it was a privilege to taste the different infusions (dill, chilli and white truffle), tapenades, balsamic vinegar and Kalamata olives.

Marbrin Olive Farm is open from 09:00 to 16:00 on weekdays and from 09:00 to 14:00 on Saturdays. They are closed on Sundays and bookings must be made for groups on 10 or more.
Cost: R50, but waivered if you buy products for R150 or more.
Contact: 0738408228, 0789163606 or email [email protected]

 

5. Kleinhoekkloof Farm

Kleinhoekkloof’s logo is called ‘the eye of the mountain’ and it’s a symbol of human endeavour. Photograph supplied

Along with olive oil tasting from Marbrin came another surprise: wine from the vineyards of Kleinhoekkloof. We didn’t visit the boutique wine farm tucked in the Langeberg Mountain range, but that didn’t take away from warm and engaging manner of the de Jongh family.

This wine-tasting experience was threaded together with stories of the family’s Pretoria background and wisdom about farming. The handcrafted blends and explanations behind the names show the authenticity of the family behind Kleinhoekkloof.

My favourite of theirs is a new, yet to be labelled blend, but is called Nouvelle and according to Danielle de Jongh it’s been a hit with most people who have tried it.

There are also charcuterie, olive and olive oil tastings at Kleinhoekkloof. For a personal wine exploration, call to make a booking.

Contact: 0646788804 or email [email protected]

 

6. Breakfast at Tebaldi’s

In McGregor, you don’t need to look any further than Tebaldi’s for a meal. The restaurant overlooks the Temenos gardens and we enjoyed breakfast on the patio with a rose garden as our view. It was a very serene start to the day complete with a walk through the gardens where wellness retreats often take place.

Cost: breakfast from R45 to R85
Contact: 0236251871 or email [email protected]

Before breakfast, we were also treated to another McGregor original, Bemind Wyne, their MCC Brut to be exact. Owner and winemaker, Ilse Schutte started making her own wine from her garage and to understand the heart that went into the creation, you will have to taste Bemind’s wine for yourself.
Contact: 0236251115 or email [email protected]

 

7. Hands-on Harvest Festival

The Hands-on Harvest Festival might have passed but you can start planning your attendance next year on 23 – 25 February 2018 (call 0236263167 or email [email protected]). If you can’t wait that long, look out for Wacky Wine Weekend (31 May to 3 June 2018). Wine farms from Ashton, Bonnievale, McGregor and Robertson come together for a programme that includes all things wine, from tastings to stomping and more.

 

Accommodation at Rose House

Rose House is within walking distance of Krans Nature Reserve. Photograph supplied

A four-bedroom Georgian family home is not what we expected when introduced to Rose House, but we felt more than at home at Rose House. McGregor’s tourism expert, Mira Wiener, welcomed us into the stylishly furnished accommodation.

The decor and interiors are very modern, but with a country feel that reflects the village of McGregor. The self-catering accommodation is child and pet-friendly. Eight people can stay there and there are three bedrooms with double beds and two bedrooms with single beds.

There is also a braai area, Wi-Fi and a back stoep that leads into the spacious garden with a swimming pool. The length of stay is two nights, minimum.

Cost: from R1500 per night for two or three people to R4000 per night for eight people.
Contact: 0236251409, 0723077399 or email [email protected]






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