Wednesday, August 20, 2014

A weekend in Wellington

You may recall that we had been invited to Dunstone House in April to stay and we wrote about it in MENU. We like it very much and, when we heard about their winter special which runs from April to end of August each year, we thought we would take members of our wine club to stay for a Saturday and that would give us all an opportunity to explore Wellington wines. We had lots of keen travellers and were surprised that several of them had never been to Wellington before. It is only one hour from Cape Town and is a very beautiful and hospitable valley
We started the weekend by meeting at Klein Optenhorst to see the Ferreiras’ magnificent garden and taste some of their newly released Pinot Noir MCC, grown on the farm but vinified by Peter Ferreira, who is related not to Naas Ferreira but to Jenny, his wife, the gardener
Weddings are held in this lovely summer house on the side of the lake
A view of the house from the early spring garden which is recovering from the long cold winter we have had, but still had many plants in bloom
Happy gardeners exploring Jenny’s wonderful collection of plants
and enjoying the lovely spring weather
One of the ponds, with a message
The Oenophiles assemble, ready for a wine tasting
MCC glasses await
 Naas Ferreira does the honours
Sparkling Pinot Noir MCC on an absolutely sparkling early Spring day
Toasts to the winemaker
How to spend a relaxed Saturday
This retails at R150 a bottle and our group bought a few!
The view from the house terrace. Imagine how lush this will be in Summer
Then it was on to see James McKenzie at Nabygelegen, just down the road. James and his partner Adele gave us a superb tasting of his wines and they laid on a very good cheese and meat platter for lunch which cost R80 pp.
They have a lovely terrace with a vine pergola outside the tasting room and we sat down in the sun for the tasting and lunch
Owner/winemaker of Nabygelegen, James McKenzie
Enjoying a taste of Scaramanga White 2014
The lunch platter
You feel spring has sprung when you see a lawn covered in pink oxalis
The manor house
Paying for the wine we bought
Not pretty as a picture but very sweet and loyal. His Mum, Adele, loves him dearly
The barrel cellar
The stack of cases of wine. John Coetzee removing his
We were not moving far on our first day in the valley as Dunstone is also just the other side of the Bovlei Road from Nabygelegen. We arrived, a little weary, to be welcomed by tea and cake and then everyone went off to their rooms for a rest, a sunbath, a walk or a read or to watch the rugby test against Argentina. We all met later for supper at their Restaurant, The Stone Kitchen
We met at 7.30 in the restaurant for a tasting of the Dunstone wines and some older Wellington wines which we had brought from our cellar
Dunstone’s wines were presented to us by the owner, Dr Leigh Wallis, who told us all about his very hands on winemaking. There were snacks with the tasting
Then we sat down to supper
What is on the menu? We had a simple potato and courgette soup, lamb chops and mashed potatoes and were promised malva pudding with home made custard, but sadly, we were served sliced cake with bought custard. They are trying to give value for money and it is a very good deal at only R600 per person for tea, dinner, bed and breakfast, but the dinner, while adequate, but was not at all exciting
And so to bed - we had the Lavender Suite
The next morning dawned warm and sunny and everyone was very relaxed
The views from the terrace are superb
Looking over the vines towards Bosman’s which we would visit later that morning
The Faithful Hound is on the bottle label too
Table laid for breakfast which was very well prepared
Tessa and John Coetzee
A light and fluffy whipped three egg omelette filled with cheese and bacon
A classic English breakfast with some toast
Or better yet, great scrambled eggs with truffle oil in a croissant, topped with crisp bacon
A very happy crowd looking forward to a busy Sunday. Thank you to all the very good staff who made our stay so comfortable and happy.
The paddock with the horses
Roger Jørgensen was next on Sunday morning. While our group knows quite a lot about wine and winemaking most of us are not very au fait with the making of spirits and it was a treat to have Roger take us through the processes he uses and then a trip into his garden and workroom to smell all the aromatics and botanicals he uses in the making of his brandy, gin, akvavit, vodka and other interesting alcohols
His column still and his pot still are in the yard and he makes any equipment that he needs
His logo and the sign for his Vodka
Their wonderful old Huguenot house and property is called Versailles
Roger grows many of the botanicals he uses. Here he shows us Angelica
He had neatly laid out the aromatics and botanicals he uses in his Gin for us to smell
Identifying new and old smells
Not allowed to use the word Cognac, Roger has cleverly come up with Savignac: made up of SA vin ‘gnac
His range of spirits, some are available for tasting, all for purchase
We tasted the most scrumptious chocolate ganache cake with the Savignac
His vines in front of the house
Because we had spent so much time at Jorgensen’s, we were woefully late for the appointment John had made at Bosman but Bea was very good about it and gave us a good tasting of their ranges of wines in the old cellar. Sincere apologies from us all.
This is their old cellar with the concrete tanks which they are turning into a bottle cellar, That old barrel at the end of the room does have 1801 painted on it.
They call these the organ pipes in the industry, a range of the bottle sizes from a single bottle right up to a Nebuchadnezzar which contains 15 litres of wine
We move to the comfortable tasting room
The Bosmans’ Wine Club Selection and Grenache blanc
The range of wines for tasting
The view from the cellar door
and a view of the Werf and the beautiful old farm buildings
Then it was off to Diemersfontein for a tasting and lunch. As the day was so balmy we were able to sit out on the terrace and do our tasting at the table at which we had lunch later
 David Sonnenberg came to welcome the group and answer any questions we had. He kindly invited us all to come and see the manor house and gardens after lunch but, sadly, the food took rather a long time to arrive, so we didn’t manage to get there. Perhaps next visit?
A nice vegetarian option was stuffed aubergine
Pork Neck on mash with a salad
A Cape Malay curry with rice and a poppadom, described on the menu as a Rogan Josh. They used lots of fenugreek which is a Cape signature.
Time to head home after a lovely weekend and sadly the clouds are starting to gather
A magnificent eagle carved out of a tree at Diemersfontein
© John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus 2014

No comments: