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Wine Wednesday (5)

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The view from the tasting deck at Springfield Wines.

I may be wrong, but it seems you guys are not really into the Wine Wednesdays? Do you want to know more about the wine specifically? Please let me know…

Nevertheless, today we are visiting Springfield Estate, just outside of the town Robertson in the Robertson Wine Valley, about 160 km from Cape Town.

I tasted their Miss Lucy wine about 4 year ago when visiting a friend in Pretoria, and loved every sip. Then I bought a house in Robertson, and discovered that Springfield is right on my doorstep! Happy days! πŸ™‚

Springfield wines are really quality, delightful wines. Each and every one brings something to please the palate. The setting of the farm and tasting deck is peaceful and beautiful, and the ideal place to unwind and chill for a while. And best of all, the tasting and cellar tours are free!

Visit them virtually, and see what they are about. From the very first paragraph of their website, you will know that you are onto something good – ” – our need for perfection is driven by our honour – it is our honour that ensures that we will only ever release a vintage that has greatness, and nothing less.”

Amazingly, the farm has been in the hands of the same family since 1898, now flourishing under the vision of the 9th generation of French Huguenot descendants, who arrived in South Africa from the Loire valley in France in 1688.

Their philosophy is to make wine as naturally as possible, and quality is more important than quantity. Six delicious whites to choose from, and five amazing reds. As you browse their website, click on each of the wines to read more about their wine philosophy, and the wines themselves. If you ever come across Springfield wine, treat yourself to a bottle or two, you will be so glad you did! And visit them if you are ever in South Africa – worth a detour.

The cellars.
Wine tasting at Springfield.

Wine lovers, I hope you are starting to realize that the Robertson Wine Valley is worth a visit. You can spend a week here, easily, to visit all the estates and enjoy the beauty of the area, and the hospitality of our people.

Please note, I am not getting paid for this post – it is my own attempt to promote the area I live in because I think it is worthy to be ‘on the map’.

Until next time, keep calm and sip a glass of wine. πŸ™‚

To go, or not to go…

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2004, my daughter and I in Paris, obviously…

The travel bug bit me at the age of thirteen.

I remember clearly, it was one day in an English class that I decided that after I finished university, I’ll become an air hostess so I can see the world. Those days there were strict parameters that you had to fit into to become one – no less than a certain height (I think it was around 5’4″), and no more than a certain weight. I held my breath throughout my teen years to see when I would stop growing, hoping, wishing I’ll be tall enough. And I was !!!! Yay!!

So, off to varsity went, to get a degree, so I can start traveling. While studying, the inevitable happened. I met my (now ex) husband. Long story short, when he asked me to marry him, I said on one condition – that we travel to Europe before we have kids. That never happened.

Fast forward many years – the kids are growing up and they don’t need me around all the time. I started sewing from home to make money and I saved like a demon, and the day came that I said to my husband that this coming year I’m going overseas, are you coming with? He said no, not believing that I’ll do it on my own. But I did. 2002, my first trip to Europe (or anywhere!), and it was amazing! I stayed in Vienna with friends for a week (I also visited Salzburg, Hallstatt and a few other places in Austria with them), and then I went to the Netherlands for a week, via Paris.

Two years later, an even better trip – I got to go with my daughter when she finished school, and it was a blast, to say the least. Sharing these experiences just take the level of enjoyment up so many notches!

It was not an easy decision to go that first time – I hated leaving my kids, but I knew they were at a stage where they’ll be okay without me for a few weeks. And it was ‘now or never’ – I felt that I’ve been patient long enough for my dream to come true…

Since then, I’ve been to Europe one more time (thanks to my SO*), to the UAE with my youngest son to visit a friend, and to Canada a few times to visit my daughter and her husband (and the last time, my first little grandchild), and although I enjoyed every single minute of every trip, I’m still frustrated. (Does that sound ungrateful? I’m not, I appreciate that I’ve had more opportunities than most.)

2008, with my youngest in the UAE.
With my SO, Munich, 2012
At the top of Sulphur Ridge, Canada, with my daughter. 2015

I only started traveling relatively late in my life, (I’m reaching retirement age now), and I haven’t seen nearly enough places yet. I’ve got a bucket list as long as my arm, but I have to start realizing that I’ll probably never get to see all of them… I mean, it is all good and well to say ‘just do it’, but reality is it costs a lot of money, especially traveling from South Africa, since our money is worth nothing in other countries. I’ve got a partner and responsibilities here, which makes taking off on a whim difficult as well.

So I am an avid arm chair traveler now. I cannot get enough of YouTube’s travel channels, I watch them all the time. And who knows, I might get to see a few more places on my wish list in real life, if my health permits!

( Thanks journey-junkies.com for giving me the idea for this post. It is an amazing thing if one can live out your dreams, but for some of us, the reality of life gets in the way. Enjoy your travels, we’ll live vicariously through you!)

Until next time, stay safe! πŸ™‚

Wine Wednesday (3)

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One of the blocks at Van Loveren.

Time for wining again! πŸ™‚

I skipped a couple of weeks, but I decided that I’m not going to break my head about that, as long as I do a Wine Wed. every two or three weeks, and it is on a Wednesday, at least.

So, I think today I’ll do a place that I’ve been to the most. That in itself should tell you something. Today we are visiting Van Loveren Wines.

Van Loveren is very well known in South Africa, as they have a very wide range of wines, and they have been going for three generations – the one stronger than the previous, every time. It all started in 1937 when Hennie Retief’s father bought him the land, later his two sons, Nico and Wynand took over from him, and now it is their four sons (the Four Cousins), that are running the show. Their success has much to do with their courage to take risks, and innovative thinking.

They have amongst many others, the Van Loveren Wines, their Heritage Range, the Christina wines, the Single Vineyard Heritage Range, the Rhino Run wines, their Premium Conservation Range, the Five’s Range, their Empowerment Range, Tangled Tree wines, their Eco Range, and Four Cousins, their Lifestyle Range. To see all their ranges and wines, and their history, please click on the link above.

I love visiting the winery, because it is in such a beautiful setting, and they have a gorgeous area under the trees where you can do your wine tasting and relax with friends and fmily. Their wines are delicious, and my personal favourites are the Van Loveren Colombar, and the Van Loveren African Java Pinotage. I always have a bottle or two (or more, but who’s counting?) of Van Loveren at home in my little wine rack.

My youngest son, doing some wine tasting with me at Van Loveren, just before he left for Ireland.

There is a lovely place to have lunch – Christina’s Bistro, where you can also sit and eat under the trees (weather permitting) and enjoy your food, your wine, and the stunning garden. They offer wine tasting, cellar tours and garden tours, and there are hiking and mountain bike trails.

The gardens.
The cellars.

All in all, I would recommend a visit to Van Loveren Wines should you ever be in the Robertson (Breede River Valley) area of South Africa, it is definitely well worth a visit.

Until next time, blog friends, enjoy your wine, but please don’t drink and drive. πŸ™‚

PS. This is NOT a paid advertisement, or sponsored in any way, this is me promoting the area I live in, and the excellent wines that are produced here.

Friday. Friyay?

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The view from Chapman’s Peak Drive towards Hout Bay, yesterday, on one of the most beautiful days in a long time…

“Rest and be thankful.” ~ William Wadsworth

It is weekend, people!

To be honest, I’m not sure why I am so excited about it. My days are pretty much all the same these days. Which does not necessarily mean it is boring. It means I don’t have to go into the office every day for the whole day, I can go in for a couple of hours, or more. I can even go on a Saturday if I want to. Or not go in at all. My choice. And apart from that, I can sit in my PJ’s and blog until 10 in the morning if I want to (I’m not saying that is what I am doing now… πŸ˜‰ ) My SO* and I can go to Cape Town on a Thursday for the whole day, should we want to. Which we did, yesterday. πŸ™‚

I’m rambling. What I’m trying to say is, my life is pretty much my own at the moment, and weekends are not much different to me from the rest of the week. So I have no real reason to be excited about it being Friday. Yet, I am. Years of conditioning, I suppose.

I hope your week was not too rough, and I hope you have a wonderful couple of days, doing whatever it is you prefer doing on a weekend. Spend some time being thankful for health, family, time off, having food on the table, etc.

So, until next time, blog friends, rest and be happy! πŸ™‚

Looking back towards the mountains and part of Chapman’s Peak Drive.

*SO – significant other

Wine Wednesday!! (2)

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One of the views from inside the tasting and bistro building.

This time, I am actually on time with my post!

I just want to clarify – I am not going to go into detail about the wines – the notes and flavours etc. I will only feature vineyards and/or wine tasting venues that I feel have really good wines, or wines that are good value for money. I am going to tell you about the experience, the people, the surroundings, so if ever you come to South Africa, and you like wine, then you know where to go!

Today I am featuring a place called Esona Boutique Wine Estate. It is still a ‘young’ estate (compared to some in the Western Cape!) – the current owners, Rowan and Caryl, have made a lot of changes to the farm since they bought it in 2003, and has been producing wines for the last 10 years. It is set in beautiful surroundings, again, like the previous one I featured, in the gorgeous Breede River Valley, near my town Robertson, just over a 150km from Cape Town.

One of the vineyards.

They currently produce Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Shiraz, Frankly My Dear (RosΓ©), Chenin Blanc, Pinot Noir, Grenache, and Colombar, and are planning to add another 4 wines to the repertoire soon.

The tasting takes place in a beautiful old cellar underground. The wines are absolutely delightful, and is presented and tasted in such a way that you really appreciate the nuances of the wine – you also get to pair the wines with fruit and chocolate, which opens up your palate to a whole new world. The young lady that does the tasting, is very knowledgeable and friendly. An interesting fact that comes across clearly, is that the shape and size of the wine glass makes a huge difference in the taste of the wine!

In the cellar.

Esona also has a Bistro where you can eat something while enjoying the views and the wine – I think one can easily spend hours there with family or friends.

Just before the wine is poured…

Rowan and Caryl take teaching and development very seriously, and they sponsor young people in the area so they can learn how to become chefs and wine makers. Please take the time to browse their web site, who knows, you might just see something you would like to order… πŸ˜‰

https://esona.co.za/

Please do visit South Africa, we are friendly and welcoming hosts, and remember to include our beautiful valley and world class wines in your itinerary!

Until next time, stay safe, don’t drink and drive, and start planning your trip to sunny South Africa!! πŸ˜€