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by Jean Wethmar

Must Do, Must See, Must Taste…While in Franschhoek

May and June are good months of the year to visit. It's off season, there are winter packages available with affordable stayovers, and visitors have the opportunity to do Franschhoek the way the locals do.

Bo La Motte cottages are just outside the village and it's an easy walk to town centre. The cottages, with chic country house interiors, will cost between R600 and R1,200 per night.

Accommodation at La Petite Ferme costs between R2,800 and R3,800 for two people sharing and this includes a gift pack in your room, cellar tour, wine tasting and lunch.

Visit iCi for a breakfast, lunch or a casual dinner at the best restaurant in town.

Delicious charcuterie tasting and an opportunity to attend a cooking class with chef Neil Jewell at Moresons.

Visit the motor museum at L'Ormarins.

Hire a bicycle from Manic Bicycles and experience wine tasting with a difference!

Let winemaker Achim von Arnim show you the traditional sabrage at Cabriere.

Tasting and Appreciating Wine

To really taste and appreciate wine, you need to use your senses.

Use your nose

Take one small sniff, then swirl the wine around and sniff once more. The stronger the impression, the more intense the aroma or bouquet. A subtle maturing wine may need the swirl before it gives off much smell. What does the smell remind you of? It's much easier to remember a smell if you can attach words to it: Lemon, earth, plummy, rusty nails, strawberry, litchi and so on.

Use your mouth

Take a good mouthful of wine and expose it to all of the taste buds. Taste it on the tip of your tongue for sweetness, the upper edges of your mouth for all-important acidity, the insides of your cheeks for drying tannins, and the entrance of the throat for any hot excess of alcohol. Once a mouthful has been swallowed or spat out (as professionals do), a judgment can be made as to whether all these elements are in balance. Remember that young wines are deliberately high in tannins.

Use your eyes

Pour a sample of wine into a glass so that it is no more than a quarter full.

Check the wine is clear and see how intense the colour is. Remember, the deeper a red, the younger the wine. Red wines become paler with age, white wines deeper.

Tilt the glass away from you, against a white background and observe the colour in the middle of the liquid and at the rim. All wines turn slowly brown with age, and the rim is the first place where any brick colour is noticeable in reds. Young reds are more purplish-blue than brick. Old reds lose their colour completely at the rim. The glossier the colour and the more subtly shaded its different colour graduations, the better the wine.

350 Years of South African Wine

South African wine has recently celebrated its 350 year history. The founder of Cape Town Jan van Riebeeck produced the first wine on February 2, 1659. At one time Constantia was considered one of the greatest wines in the world.

Grape Varieties (known as Cultivars) in South Africa

18.7% Chenin Blanc

13.1% Cabernet Sauvignon

11.4% Colombard

9.68% Shiraz

8.2% Sauvignon Blanc

8% Chardonnay

6.7% Merlot

6.2% Pinotage

Posted in lifestyle |
Posted by Jean Wethmar
10 Dec 2009

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