The time has flown by this week as we reach the final full day of the first leg of our South Africa tour.
The rather impressive Le Lude winery in Franschhoek was our destination on Friday morning and it is an extremely elegant estate modelled on Paris and Loire interiors and gardens.
Paul Gerber was our host. Paul is the winemaker and has devoted himself to sparkling wines, which is all they do at Le Lude. We stood outside in the perfectly manicured lawns overlooking a seriously large walled rose garden while Paul gave us the rundown of the estate. Paul was very engaging and passionate about all things sparkly and was clearly keen on the technical aspects but managed to keep it easily understandable.
Entering the Parisienne style tasting room we settled down to their excellent Brut Non Vintage, superb Rosé and then contrasted them with some Champagne Drappier. An excellent start to our morning.
From Le Lude it was a short hop to Chamonix, just on the outskirts of Franschhoek. Here, winemaker Thinus Neethling held court as he took us through an impressive range of wines. Top class Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Franc and a Bordeaux blend gave us a great insight into the elegance of Franschhoek wines.
We then took lunch at Chamonix’s restaurant – Racine. I was anticipating a quiet lunch with a few glasses of wine as we had dinner later. How wrong I could be…
It turned into a bit of a session as we contineud to enjoy the wines and delicious food in a delightful outdoor setting. We rolled out at 3.30pm, with just enough time to recover for dinner.
Our final night dinner was at Tokara restaurant, just outside Stellenbosch. We caught a magnificent sunset before settling into a delicious meal. We compared Sauvignon Blancs, Chardonnays and Shiraz and finished with a late harvest Sauvignon Blanc. The food, service and wine was top class – a great night and a great end to the first part of our South African adventures.