Thursday, February 21, 2013

Riding the tram in Franschhoek

11 am in Haute Cabrière’s reception area, waiting for the tour to start
The cellar tour begins
Listening to how the wines are made
It is held in the vaulted cellar where you can see the reception area above
The cathedral like barrel cellar
Lots of activity in the packing area
A chandelier made of Dom Perignon bottles, reputedly all drunk at the births of the von Arnim children
It makes the most wonderful shadows on the ceiling
Sit on a church pew in the private tasting area
Barrels being  brought in for the harvest
This is the small stack of Fine de Jourdan potstill brandy kegs
We tasted the wines
Our guide shows us how to do sabrage on a wine bottle
The cork flies off effortlessly
Tasting their wonderful Pinot Noir
Neat place to hang your sabre between uses
A niche displaying the range of MCC bubblies
The magnificent view from Haute Cabriere
You can taste wine out on the terrace and enjoy the view
A view of the mountains looking across their full dam
We board our first "Tram" bus
Our guide tells us which is the next stop and we are off
The tasting room at Dieu Donne (translation: God’s Gift)
with their magnificent Venetian glass chandelier
Deciding which wines to taste
The lawn outside the tasting room
The restaurant terrace with lots of shade
Dieu Donne also has a micro brewery.  Next time, we will be there to taste the beers
The Specials menu for the day looks quite tempting, especially Eisbein with a beer
Some beautiful sandstone tiles with embedded fossils on the walkway to the restaurant
Chamonix de-stemmer, ready for the arrival of the grapes
The restaurant at Chamonix
A selection of spirits in the bar
Their specials menu of the day
The normal menu. Because Caesar salad appeared twice at different prices, we misunderstood that the Tapas were only available in the Wine tasting area. A pity, we would have ordered them
Their proud display of Platter 5 star awards for their wines
They serve good chewy fresh bread
The stream below the deck
A view of the tables on the deck
Lynne’s perfectly cooked calves liver on mash
John’s Duck confit on Puy lentils
Double espresso with tiny cakes
Our bill. They calculate the tip for you.....
View of the very rustic restaurant
Sommeliers selection
Their tasting centre. There is a charge to taste the wines
Outside the tasting room where you can await the next tram bus
A quick peek into the working wine cellar in harvest time
We join the tram which runs on the train lines through the vineyards
They don’t have to turn it around, all the seats reverse in an instant. Here we are waiting to be off on the adventure. Lovely warm weather
The view from the tram of the vineyards and Franschhoek as you move slowly along. It is a magical trip
This year is a busy and fruitful harvest due to all the rain we had last winter and a nice slow ripening period
The tram uses the old, decommissioned, railway line and some of the old station signs can be seen along the way
The tram stops at Grande Provence, where you have to walk for about 15 minutes in the hot sun to reach the tasting room
At the last stop, you are transported by road to Rickety Bridge; after tasting there you are taken back to board the tram again and return to Franschhoek.
© John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus 2013

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