Sunday, September 30, 2012

Constantia Afternoon

Spent Thursday afternoon hobnobbing around wineries in Constantia. The oldest and of course my personal favourite was a winery called Groot Constantia, located on the Cape Peninsula overlooking False Bay.

Groot Constantia is the oldest wine estate in South Africa and considered a national monument in the suburb of Constantia in Cape Town, South Africa. 'Groot' in Dutch and Afrikaans translates as 'great' in English. The winery itself was established in 1685 by the VOC Governor of the Cape of Good Hope Simon van der Stel, and was used to produce wine as well as other fruit and vegetables and cattle farming.

The vineyards are tucked in the steep valley on the eastern side of Table Mountain. Nine different soil types exist on the farm of Groot Constantia, the majority consist of Table Mountain granite soils. The winery is noted particularly for its high-quality red wines, as a result, red varietals account for approximately 70% of the plantings and include the following: Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Shiraz, Pinotage, Touriga Nacional, Red Muscadel, and Malbec. White varietals make-up the remaining 30% of plantings and consist of Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Semillon, White Muscadel, and Morio Muscat.

The one thing of note about wine tasting in South Africa is that they pour you an actual full size glass of wine!!! Completely different from the average one ounce pours I'm so used to experiencing back at home. They charged us 30 ZAR each for a five glass tasting, about $3.50 CAD. If I lived here I would go there regularly!! Ended up buying 6 bottles and I'm hoping to pack at least 3 of them home with me. The other three are for drinking while in SA. Here were the highlights:

2011 Chardonnay
A full-bodied Chardonnay with flavours of oak, vanilla, citrus, litchis and pears on the nose, with hints of orange peel and cloves. The crisp acidity of this wine ensures long lasting tropical fruit and butterscotch flavours on the palate. This is a well balanced wine with defined complexity.

2010 Shiraz
The wine shows black pepper and black currant on the nose, while time in the glass reveals hints of violets, ripe plums and smokiness. The spiciness and black currant follows through on the palate, leaving a sweet rich taste in your mouth.

2010 Gouverneurs Reserve
The wine has a deep, intense ruby colour. On the nose, one finds many ripe, rich flavours: Black cherries, plums, blackcurrant and hints of chocolate and mint. These rich flavours follow through on the palate with black pepper spices coming through on the after taste. The wine offers good extract on the palate with lots of good structured tannin to ensure good maturation potential.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Cape of Good Hope, Cape Town

The southern-most tip of Africa!!

After a morning of ooo-ing an awww-ing over African Penguins we headed south to the stunning Cape of Good Hope! The weather was perfect, the scenery was stunning, couldn't have asked for a better day.

African Penguins, Boulders, Cape Town

We arrived in Cape Town late last night and had planned to visit Table Mountain this morning, but to our demise they had decided to close the gondola due to bad weather and wind. As a result, we decided the next best option was to spend the morning visiting the absolutely adorable African Penguins in Boulders.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Wednesday Evening and Thursday Morning Safaris

Couldn't resist throwing this one in. Super yummy wine we had at dinner on Wednesday night. Silky Smooooth!!

The Spahhhhhh

After no sleep the night before and a 3.5 hour early morning safari I decided to hit the spa for the afternoon. I indulged in a 3 hour spa package which included a body scrub, hot stone massage and a manicure and pedicure. I dozed off somewhere between the hot stone massage and the manicure and didn't wake up until the end of my pedicure. I've often wondered if its considered a compliment or an insult when a person falls asleep on the massage table? Nevertheless, the experience was nothing short of spectacular and I left feeling relaxed, refreshed and ready for the evening safari.

Wednesday Morning Game Drive

Up bright and early for the 6:00 AM Safari,!! So amazing!! Saw so many incredible animals. The highlight was definitely the lion pride sighting. There must have been about 12 lions which ranged in age from baby cubs, to young adults to fully mature adults. The male lion was huge, and only 3 years old!! Would definitely not want to
stumble across him walking around in the bush. Not that I would ever do such a thing.