As I woke up today for my “American Wino in Africa” Day, Part II, I realized how hard this whole blogging thing really is…
First, you have to schedule tours, then you have to drink wine…well you get it.. Hard work.
Blogging is the best gig ever, and days like today, well…
They make me feel more spoiled than ever.
Wine lovers unite, this post is for you.
I sipped and frolicked around Stellenbosch, South Africa for the greater good. It’s a tough job but somebody’s gotta do it, right? Okay, but seriously…how did I get so lucky to find myself in South Africa amongst endless wine farms?
Best discovery of the day? Wine popsicles. Nope, I am not kidding. This is not a drill. Scroll down for proof.
Here’s how the day went…
First stop: J.C. Le Roux
First of all, how great is the name? It’s got a nice ring to it…and then….
BUBBLY! Bubbly everywhere!
(To my champagne-obsessed bestie back home: Vanessa, I’m sorry. I know you’re wanting to scratch the screen with jealousy reading this right now. Come to South Africa and I’ll show you the goods!)
House of J.C. Le Roux is THE PLACE for sparkling wine in the Western Cape. Period. I can not wait to go back.
Not only did we have an amazing tasting (we had the Nougat pairing), we learned about their bubbly production process and what makes South African bubbly special.
Fun fact: International use of the word champagne is no longer allowed, as the French hold the rights to the word champagne. Since it was originally (and still is) grown in the Champagne region of France, other countries can not use the name even though it’s technically the same stuff. Instead of calling it “champs” or “champagne” like some of my fellow Westerners may say, South Africans call their bubbly “Methode Cap Classique” or MCC for short. (Don’t worry though, you say bubbly, champagne or MCC and the South Africans know what you want and exactly how to deliver!)
Though it wasn’t part of the tasting, my favorite varietal from this wine farm is called Desiderius. It has a dry taste but also reminds me of honey. And it’s gorgeous. Just look at it… As if the tasting wasn’t generous enough, we were then given a bonus glass of the new varietal Vibrazio, which was SO good I thought seriously about stealing the bottle or emptying my wallet for a full case.
But I had to contain myself, this was only stop one after all…so I plucked myself off the cozy couch in the private tasting room and made my way out.
And then, right when we were on our merry way, Jean, the lovely manageress says: “Don’t forget your wine pop!”
Excuse me? A frozen wine popsicle. An entire case of them lives right at the entrance to the tasting room. No joke. I almost fell on the floor with joy. (Oh, and if you are wondering like I was, they have about a 9-10 alcohol percentage, so a few of these and you are good to go!)
I’ve heard rumors about these wine popsicles (thanks Pinterest) but hadn’t been able to track them down until now. Best. Thing. Ever.
J.C. Le Roux, I love you. (Yes that rhymes. No, I am not still buzzed.)
Second stop: CLOS MALVERNE
This wine farm caught my eye while I researched the best wineries online, so I reached out. I was looking for something unique and I certainly found it! The marketing manager reached out to me quickly and offered up with an invitation to experience their Ice cream and Wine Pairing. I had never even heard of such a thing, and I thought I came from a wine-rich state (California).
We were a little happy. Can you tell? 😉
Heaven is a place on Earth! At a wine farm called Clos Malverne…in Stellenbosch, South Africa. Next time I visit, I’m checking out their spa!
Third and final stop: WARWICK WINE ESTATE
This wine farm was a traditional, laid back setting. We sat in the sun on the patio and tried about five different varietals, so we definitely had our fair share. By this point, as you can imagine, we were getting pretty buzzed and had perma-grins on our faces.
Warwick is a great place to spend any afternoon with friends. Very chilled and comfortable.
Our sommelier was not only SUPER friendly and outgoing, she was generous with her pours too. Thank you very much!
My favorite? “The Black Lady” Syrah– plummy, floral and light. Only problem? It goes down too easy!
I had already purchased a few bottles of Warwick wine prior to visiting the estate, so it was really cool to see where the magic happens. Definitely will return soon.
Thank you so much to the wine farms that hosted me and my two partners in crime that day, Rob and Sue. We had such a great day that will surely be a fond memory forever.
To the Universe and the Wine Gods: Thankyouthankyouthankyou.
And to all of you wondering where I’ll be sipping next: stay tuned. American Wino: Part III is in the works!