We booked a full day winelands tour for Rand 650 (about £35), which seemed like a good deal as lunch was also included. You can actually book private tours, which are more expensive, but the group ones tend to be much more fun.
We visited four vineyards: Villiera, Tokara, Solms and Fairview. They were all different, so it was really good to see a variety of setups. We ended up sampling over twenty wines, and there was some enthusiastic singing in the van back to Cape Town at the end of the day.
At Villiera, we toured the production line and then tried various sparkling wines (at 10:30 am) and then some other varieties. One that caught my tastebuds was the Inspiration Noble Late Harvest sweet wine. I haven’t drunk sweet wine for many years, but I’ve obviously been missing something good. The sweet wine was described as “…intensely fragrant with hints of honey, raisins, marmalade and nuts penetrating the aroma.” None of us could taste any of those things. In fact, the only time in the whole day when anyone could taste something in the description was later on when we were all agreed that there was a definite hint of green pepper in one of the wines.
Bottling at Villiera
Sampling, at Villiera
Tokara was probably the most up-market of the vineyards we visited – it was certainly very plush both inside and out.
Of the various wines sampled, I enjoyed the Tokara Reserve Collection Elgin Sauvignon Blanc 2014, and Tokara Director’s Reserve Red 2011 (which at R350 was the most expensive one we tried). The latter is described thus: “The aromas on the nose are classic for this style of wine. Heady notes of cassis, black berries and dark cherries. There is a slight herbal lift and freshness to the nose with hints of tomato puree and tomato leaf and the typical hint of mint which is indicative of its origin.” Everyone asked, “Can you taste mint? I can’t.” Everyone raved about the olives which were also available.
The toilets at Tokara were pretty fancy as well
Sampling, at Solms
After a decent lunch, the third stop was Solms Delta Estate, just outside Franschhoek. A gorgeous location.
I quite liked their Chenin Blanc 2014. which was on sale at R55.
The final place was Fairview, where we tried a variety of locally produced cheeses – the soft one went particularly well with their sweet & sour peppers with chilli sauce.
And then another six wines. I enjoyed La Beryl Blanc, a dessert wine.