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by Jean Wethmar

Must Do, Must See, Must Taste…

While in Paarl

Paarl takes its name from the granite domes of the Paarl Mountains, which loom above the town – paarl is Dutch for ‘pearl'. The first farmers settled there in 1687, two years after the founding of Stellenbosch.

Wineries in Paarl are spread far apart, so visitors might want to select only a couple or take a whole day to taste at leisure. Paarl itself is home to the impressive KWV International, which has cellars covering 55 acres. KWV stands for Ko-operatieve Wijynbouwers Vereniging, a body that used to regulate and control the Cape wine industry for decades. This is no longer the case, however. KWV is seeking to redefine itself as a top wine and spirit producer. The highlight of a tour here is the famous Cathedral Cellar, with a barrel-vaulted ceiling and giant vats carved with scenes from the history of Cape Wine.

Along Suid and Noord Agter Paarl Roads, Fairview is as famous for its goats and cheese as it is for its wine. This is a place that's great for families. Goats clambering up a spiral staircase into a goat tower and fantastic goats cheese too. Fairview has one of the most successful and innovative winemakers in the Cape Charles Back. He does not stick to the tried and true Cape varietals with one wine, in particular, the very popular Goats do Roam that is infuriating French winemakers, Cote du Rhone.

Diemersfontein Wine and Country Estate, which was built in the 19th century, has a historic farmstead that is set in a lush garden with rolling lawns and abundant roses and azalea bushes. The farm has been transformed into a lifestyle estate. Highlights from this estate include their flagship, Carpe Diem Pinotage and the very famous coffee chocolate Pinotage as well.

If you're looking for accommodation in the area Bartholomeus Klip Farmhouse is a Victorian guesthouse based on a nature reserve, with 9,900 acres of rare renosterveld that is scrubland to the endangered geometric tortoise, and a working farm. The accommodation is luxurious and food excellent. There is also plenty of eland, zebra, wildebeest, springbok, rhebok, bontebok, bat-eared fox and Cape buffalo.

South African Wine

The consumption of South African wine is on the rise because, at the end of the day, they offer good value, continental-style sophistication and the chance to experience unusual grapes and blends.

The Sauvignon Blancs coming out of South Africa are world class – they are very grapefruit-y as opposed to having the gooseberry notes found in New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs.

Shiraz may well become the signature red wine of South Africa, but let's not forget Pinotage, the hybrid grape created in 1922 as a cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsault and known then as Hermitage.

Pinotage makes for a pleasing and uniquely South African wine.

Moms are like precious pearls!

Want to know how to treat the mom in your family for this Mother's Day on May 9?

A picnic basket packed with wonderful homemade cheese scones, fig konfyt, a bottle of Pinotage or Sauvignon Blanc, plus a few ginger chocolates could do the trick!

Oh and, of course, a subscription to a magazine such as Conde Naste, House & Garden or SAbona.

South African Wine and Cookery Safari

SAbona writer and The Cape Club's wine and cookery expert Jean Wethmar is hosting a 12-night South African wine and cookery safari in September. Jean, who was born in South African is now living in Sydney and is passionate about good food and wines. She loves cooking, has firsthand knowledge of South Africa's wine estates and knows the best places to shop!

The tour takes in Cape Town and some of the most spectacular win estates in the Western Cape. Local chefs will also show off their tricks of the trade.

For more information email jeanw@thecapeclub.com.

Posted in lifestyle |
Posted by Jean Wethmar
12 Apr 2010

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