South Africa Wine Tour 2019
South Africa Wine Tour 2019
Day 1: A travel day: Charlotte, NC to JFK in New York City - in to the hotel by 5:45 and spent the evening at the hotel - just purely enjoying this place.
We are staying at the new TWA Hotel - it's the old TWA terminal re-vamped into a classy hotel. They've done a great job, and for a history buff like me it is like being in a dream. I'm a kid of the 60's and this place is truly amazing.
View of the Sunken Lobby
Night view of the terminal-turned-hotel lobby from our room
Day 2: It was a beautiful - clear -day for running around Manhattan! But it was COLD!!!
We headed over to the Alexander Hamilton Museum in Harlem first off, via LYFT, and then used the subway system to go to the World Trade Memorial, up to the One World Center overlook and then up to Hudson Yards to see the Vessel. We then headed over to Roosevelt Island to visit with friends who brought us back to the hotel - met up with others going on the tour to South Africa and enjoyed a great evening at the bar and restaurant.
The c.1802 Alexander Hamilton House
View of Harlem
View of Harlem
At the World Trade Center
Classic Manhattan architecture
Subway tile work
View toward midtown
View toward Brooklyn and Queens
The Brooklyn Bridge
Empire State Building
View of Manhattan from our friend's home on Roosevelt Island
Playing Twister at the TWA hotel
Day 3 & 4 were travel days. We left JFK on a 10:40am Emirates Air flight for Dubai. A very long flight - about 12 1/2 hours in the air; plus a 45 minute lay-over in Dubai and then a 9 1/2 hour flight to Cape Town. I wasn't overly impressed with Emirates Air. We got into Cape Town at about 5PM the next day and were greeted by our travel tour guide. Had a nice drive over the mountains to Hermanus for the next two nights. Could not have asked for better weather: about 75 degrees and no clouds in the sky. We have wonderful accommodations and great food for dinner at the Schulphoek Inn. Views from the drive over to Hermanus:
A view of our hotel room:
The view from our hotel room:
Our first dinner on the continent: butternut soup, followed by choice of fish or Eland (both were excellent!), variety of vegetables and wine and dessert. Enjoyed by all!
Day 5: Up for a wonderful 8AM breakfast at the hotel and then off to conquer the day!!
Of the breakfast choices I had the Eggs Benedict. This version is served with salmon on top of a dark whole grain toast. Breakfast also included fresh fruit, juice and so not enough coffee! - knew that was going to happen....
Nomi is the property manager - always greets us with the world's biggest smile and always on the ready to share some great stories.
Our first vineyard of the day was the Hamilton Russel Estate. This area of South Africa is known for its Pinot Noir and Chardonnay wines. Neither are generally my favorites - I tend to like a more full body red, but one of their Chardonnays was quite nice to my pallet.
Traditional style wood barrels in front of one of the newer "ceramic eggs" used for aging wine. We learned, later, that the best wine barrels are made of Oak from either the US or France, but are so terribly expensive - costing any vineyard 100's or thousands of dollars a year. A barrel can only be used for about 3 times before being replaced.
After Hamilton Russel we visited the Bouchard Finlayson Winery:
Lunchtime found us at the La Vierge Vineyard where we were treated to magnificent views and wonderful food offerings of Bobotie and Calamari - followed by wonderful desserts of Lemon Meringue Pie and Dom Pedros! (Vanilla Ice Creme and Amarula). Struck ups a great conversation with a guy named Andrew and Linda from Scotland. Full of humor! They are also on holiday and they own a hotel in Scotland. It's for sale! - although not listed yet. We all want to buy it and run t as a group. Check it out at www.castlehotel.uk.com.
The afternoon found us wondering around and shopping in the village of Hermanus,
The King Protea is the national flower of South Africa. Many are in bloom around Hermanus. These were in a vase in the gallery.
I think everyone enjoyed shopping at the Lembu Gallery, owned and operated by Ed Bredenkamp - an accomplished artist himself. Check the gallery out at www.lembu.co.za.
We ended the day with a light meal at the Wine Glass cafe in the city center.
Day 6. You know, something always comes along to spoil good things, right? So this morning we are enjoying a fantastic breakfast at the Schulpoek Inn, and a few whales show up in the waters off the coast of the hotel. So of course we have to leave the breakfast table to go watch the whales. How much better can a day get?? Unfortunately they stayed a little too far out for picture taking.
All checked out and loaded in the van - we headed on out to Franschoek.
Stopped at a farmstall to get some biltong for folks to try. Then headed over the Franshoek Pass to Franschoek.
From the Franschoek Pass overlooking the village of Franschoek:
Protea flowers blooming on the side of the road:
Views of the village of Franschoek (FrenchCorner):
One of the 360 species of Protea flowers:
Lunch with beer and more wine tasting at the Vrede de Lust Vineyards, followed by wine and brandy tasting at the Blacksberg Vineyards. Let's just say it was probably a good thing I was not the driver on this day!
And the day comes to an end at the De Leeuwenhof Estate in Paarl with a fantastic supper with beautiful prepared salmon salad and HUGE and very tender, melt-in-your-mouth beef fillet, followed by ice cream-chocolate brownie-Amarula. And of course, more wine! I shall sleep soundly tonight!