Thursday, September 29, 2016

Franschhoek Uncorked

This annual celebration has Franschhoek's wine farms opening their doors to the public with special tastings and fun events over a weekend. The weather played along and we had a great time visiting several wine farms on Saturday. It was not as busy as we expected, but everyone we saw was having a super time. As it was the weekend after Heritage Day, there was a lot of braaiing going on
A tragic note after the weekend was hearing of the tragic loss of Jenny Prinsloo in  a collision on the Helshoogte Pass. Jenny was CEO of Franschhoek Tourism and played a most important role in taking Franschhoek to its very prominent place on the South African tourism map. We mourn her loss with all of Franschhoek and her family
We began at Boschendal. It has been rather a long time since we visited. This is the Rhone Homestead now a restaurant which is next to the wine cellar, the festival was being held on the lawn here
You walk down the oak avenue, now in beautiful new spring green leaf
They had this wagon with the working horses taking people on rides up and down the farm
The tasting desk under the trees. They only had the Chardonnay and Shiraz for tasting
The Rhone Restaurant was popular
There was a buffet lunch for about R280 a person
Lots of good food and dessert treats
Roasts under the hot lamps
We thought it looked lovely, but we wanted something light
Hamburgers on the grill. They had advertised sausages, but we saw none. Sadly, the burgers we saw (which had been discarded) were very brown on the outside and very raw on the inside. They did not tempt us
There was also one of two bubblies for tasting. If you wanted the other one there was a small charge
Some lively singing and dancing on the lawn by a local group of children and drummers
It certainly livened up the afternoon
Bud break has begun on the vines
Moody weather over the mountains, but it was warm and didn't rain although it had been forecast. Perhaps that is why numbers were rather low?
Off to GlenWood where we encountered Guy Kedian of Stellenbosch Vineyards with GlenWood's cellarmaster/general manager DP Burger, both old friends
Tables were being set up for the wine blending competition
We enjoyed some fun and Chardonnay with Guy and  and his partner Jackie Rabe, Sales and Marketing Director at Strandveld Wines,
Hands up or I'll shoot!
A good grey in the paddock
Hunger struck, so we had some of these kebabs. Steak or chicken? We went for the nice and tender steak with sweet barbecue sauce and a roosterbrood. Never quite sure if we trust chicken on the braai
Happy day
Spring green on the oaks
The blending competition starts. We can report that this team was the winner
Another enthusiastic team
Lots of fun and nonsense went on. Not all the blends were absolutely pristine!
Perhaps a little too much festival enthusiasm?
Then we went off to the other end of the valley to visit two farms we had not been to before. The first was Lynx, where we bumped into old Franschhoek friends whom we haven’t seen for a long time
They had a food truck
Hard to get to the tasting counter as it was busy
John peeked into the cellar
Serenaded by the Mexican duo
Down the road from Lynx, La Chataigne and Topiary had combined their celebrations on Topiary. La Chataigne is building a new tasting venue. Superb views of the Helshoogte pass to Stellenbosch and the Simonsberg Mountains across the vines
They had tables and chairs on their lawn
They had some good wines on special and a couple of boxes went home to our cellar. We bought the La Chataigne Kastanje 2013, made from Chenin blanc with a dash of Semillon, and Topiary Shiraz 2013
We chatted to co-owner winemaker Philippe Colin, who was serving the wine. It was a popular destination
and to owner of La Chataigne Richard Parkfelt, serving his wine
The sun is setting in the west
They do have some topiary at the entrance. It's time to head home
© John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus 2016

© John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus 2016

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