But first let me tell you what I did this winter…
It all started in April when I embarked on one of my life’s ambitions and that is to make my own wine. Under the skillful and kind guidance, of garagiste winemaker, William Everson, I spent ten days in the Elgin/Grabouw valley fulfilling that dream. The grapes for our 2009 Shiraz were bought from the Belfield farm, situated in Elgin and were harvested on 07/04/2009.
The whole thing was and still is a little bit magical as I get to sample my wine at regular intervals on its way to maturity! An update on the wine, is that after 6 months in oak barrels, the wood integration is still minor at this stage.
The fruit flavour is upfront; the wine is elegant, showing typical Elgin character and will spend at least another 6 months in the barrel before developing its full potential.
At the end of May, mom and I spent two weeks in the South of France. The first week was spent with our friends the Gras, and we were able to catch up with Nathalie and visit Clos des Roses winery in Frejus. Since our last visit, this has developed into a magnificent estate, offering stunning facilities for every occasion: there is a banquet hall, a wedding chapel, a conference centre, several restaurants and a range of outstanding accommodation.
It even has its own vegetable garden. The winery itself is going from strength to strength, with a brand new White Wine and Rosé cellar as well as a state-of-the-art Red Wine cellar.
We sampled their Le Blanc, made from the Ugni variety, their Le Rosé and their Le Rouge, a Cabernet Sauvignon/Mourvedre blend. They are all delicious but my personal favourite is Le Rosé of course!
During our second week, we drove to the Luberon at the invitation of our very good friends the Kollrepps and stayed with them in Gordes, one of the many charming medieval hilltop villages in this area.
Armed with our trusted Garmen we ventured out on our ownto explore the Chateauneuf-du-Pape region, famous for its rich, ruby-red wine, grown in the local vineyards. What makes
these vineyards unique is that they are kept warm at night by large pebbles that cover the ground, soaking up the sun’s
warmth during the day and retaining it at night. Of course I bought a bottle of Chateauneuf-du-Pape Telegraphe 2006 and brought it home to be enjoyed at a later date.
We found another great Rosé, from Bandol, and enjoyed a variety of 1998 Bordeaux wines during our stay in the South
of France. Then it was on to London, where highlights included the Trooping of the Colour in honour of the Queen’s birthday; some different beauty treatments, like eye brow threading, at Harvey Nicks and spending some quality time with my friends who now live in London.
We also went to High Timber, a new restaurant co-founded by South African’s, Gary and Kathy Jordan of the Jordan Wine Estate. It is just off the Millenium Bridge on the North Side of the Thames and boasts and impressive wine cellar, featuring great wines from around the world and plenty of good South African bottles.
The steaks were among the best we’ve had, and our bottle of Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon seemed pretty good value at £25.00! We were treated to a delightful glass of dessert wine at the end of the meal before catching a Red London Bus back to our apartment, after an altogether fabulous evening. Back home now, and it’s hard to believe that in less than 250 days the FIFA World Cup arrives at our shores!