Monday, 30 January 2012

Drifting through Robertson

In the festive season that has just gone by (for too quickly), my better half and I embarked on a road trip from Johannesburg to Cape Town. The idea was to see parts of the country that I have never seen before and to experience more of South Africa. There were many highlights along the way, but the one I would like to share with you first was at the end of our trip, when we started our return journey.

The plan was to leave Cape Town relatively early and drive through Robertson and find accommodation somewhere there after. I had never been to the Roberson area, and in my mind had never really considered it as a destination to visit... I had no idea the area was so beautiful and so full of things to see and experience.

Robertson is about an hour and a half drive from Cape Town, and it is over looked by the Langeberg mountains with the Breede River running through it. It is known as the  "small town with a big heart", and for it's wine production.

As we were not staying in the area, we were limited on time to spend, but we had heard of a couple of places in particular to visit.

Viljoensdrift was our first stop. It is a family owned farm and winery, with brothers, Fred and Manie Viljoen, working their wine making magic since 1998. What attracted us to Viljoensdrift was the boat cruises that they run on the Breede River, or you can picnic on the banks of the river.

Booking is essential for the boat cruise during the peak season, but once the formalities are covered, you can create your own picnic from the deli by ticking off selection on a menu. There are a variety of things to choose, from freshly baked ciabatta to pate's to conserves. We opted for the ciabatta, mozzarella, cheddar and ham roll, butternut and Ppperdew pate, and the sweet and sour pepper jam. It all gets neatly packed up in a wooden box with the necessary crockery and cutlery, and is ready for you to collect as you board the boat.

Apart from the deli, there is of course all the Viljoensdrift wines to taste. They have three ranges, Viljoensdrift, River Grandeur, and Cellarmaster's Selection, with a few of the wines claiming high accolades. We tasted the Sauvignon Blanc, Cab Sauv, Shiraz, and the Villion Methode Cap Classique.

All the wines were very easy drinking with their bold yet smooth flavors. The Sauvignon Blanc has sweet grassy notes with granadilla in the background, it is a perfect summer time fresh wine. The two reds where surprisingly sweet, with the Shiraz (Veritas 2010: Gold, Michelangelo 2010: Gold)  having more dark chocolate notes and the Cab Sauv (Veritas 2011: Silver) having more dark berry notes. Our surprise favorite was the MCC (Platter 2011: 4 Stars). It has a fine mousse texture with honeysuckle flavors making this MCC crisp and refreshing, all of this left us with no choice but to enjoy a bottle with our boat cruise picnic.

The boat cruise was tranquil as we puttered along the river with the picturesque river banks, our picnic selection was tasty and more then enough to call it a good lunch, with the excellent MCC to round everything off.

Our time at Viljoensdrift was most enjoyable and I recommend to anyone visiting or passing through the Roberston area to make a stop here, I will visit them again!

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