South Africa Day 1: Hats, heat and er, wine!!

February 21, 2017

South Africa Day 1: Hats, heat and er, wine!!

Hats, heat and er, wine!!

Alright, I give in, you’ve got me bang to rights; whilst this does qualify as work, it is not quite the same as sitting in front of a spreadsheet trying to work out prices for the new year and, when you taste wines as good as some of those that crossed our paths today, the term enjoyment does slightly enter the lexicon.

But we are working.

And we bought hats.

Weekends in Stellenbosch seem to centre around the fantastic, open-air market at the Audacia vineyard so, suitably unprepared we bowled along in a style that could not have screamed “English Tourists” more had we been clad in Union Jacks and singing Rule Britannia. So when we chanced upon Stellenbosch’s finest milliner (I use the term loosely) the opportunity to equip ourselves with some of the most majestic (God, I hate that word) headgear known to man was too good to turn down. Sensing our recent arrival and vulnerability the delightful lady who looked after us asked for our first impressions; “well, I normally start with Brian Clough and then work my way through Donald Trump to Boris Johnson” seemed to fall on deaf ears so we paid up and moved on to a picture framer who seemed equally unimpressed with my views on Brexit – que sera sera!

 

(David van Velden & Digger Darwin)

Monday dawned to bright sunshine and clear blue skies (again, sigh!) and our first day of work. Rocking up at Kleinood Tamberskloef we met up with our partners in crime for the week, Lis and Andrew (Digger) Darwin. Lis is an acclaimed baroque singer and has perhaps the finest voice in Herefordshire whilst Digger lays claim to being a wine merchant. After some outstanding Syrahs with the delightful Jessica Saurwein at Kleinood we couldn’t resist a quick visit to de Morgenzon before a brief lunch and the highlight of the day – 3 hours in the company of David Van Velden, fourth generation winemaker at the hugely impressive Overgaauw estate. Charged with upholding family tradition whilst taking the estate forward cannot be the easiest of tasks but David shows no signs of holding back and one cannot help but be drawn in by his motivation and enthusiasm. After a stomach churning drive through his vineyards during which our frequent stops allowed him to give full rein to the intensity of his passion for his craft, we concluded our visit in his family dining room. Seated around a table that his family had used for generations and which had seen his first introduction to wine (with a liberal helping of water) several years earlier, we tasted a hugely impressive range, the highlights of which were the wonderfully approachable Shepherd’s Cottage Cabernet/Merlot, a frighteningly drinkable Estate Merlot 2014 and the majestic (there’s that word again) Tria Corda 2012 (now sold out ).

Time for bed – watch this space for more tomorrow…..





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