Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Guide to Cape Town Wine Country

After checking out the city life of Cape Town, it was time to get away from it all to explore the South African wine country.
How to Get There:  We rented a car for easy access around the area, but you could also hire a driver or book a tour.

Where to Stay:  The Steenberg Hotel Khoi Khoi Suite is a wine lover's paradise. Although the Stellenbosh wine region might be better known, Constantia is equally beautiful and so much closer the the city.  Everything is amazing from the staff to the surroundings. The Steenberg Hotel accommodations made us feel like royalty.  There is nothing more charming than staying in a quaint cottage overlooking the vineyards complete with a backyard garden of fresh herbs and a private swimming pool.  We truly saved the best for last at this fine establishment.  I hope to return again soon!

River Cafe:  Tucked into Constantia Utsig winery is this cute little restaurant.  Enjoy a few glasses of wine while dining outside on the patio.  Nice place for a mid-day snack.
Caterina's:  More beautiful views and outstanding staff.  I especially enjoyed the brunch menu with the spicy Malay omelet.  The dinner menu offered tasty risotto, beef carpaccio, fresh soup and the lovely Steenberg wine list.
Bistro 82:  Bistro 82 has a delicious brunch.
The color and flavor of the fruit started the meal off right.  We loved the slow cooked pork belly and omelets.  The view of the vineyard is absolutely stunning.  The Steenberg property and restaurants are simply magical.  
Hidden Valley:  This winery offers a board of goodies... cheeses, meats, jams, hummus.  Perfect for outdoor sipping on Pinotage.
Constantia:  We began our wine journey at Constantia Utsig.  We loved the Bourdeaux blend, bubbly and Sauvignon Blanc.  There are three restaurants on the property.  It is a beautiful spot, but unfortunately there isn't really outside seating with views.
Klein:  Klein is another nice winery specializing in whites and Vin de Constance sweet wine.
Steenberg:  The bubbly at the Steenberg was my favorite.
There's no better way to start an evening than a bubbly tasting at Gorgeous Bar.  Obama even celebrated with the Graham Beck on election night in Chicago.  We were greeted with a glass of the Steenberg 1682 upon check in.  We also did a tasting at 11 a.m. the next day (got to get an early start in wine country.)
Stellenbosh:  If you are willing to take a bit of a drive, it is worth checking out Stellenbosch.  After visiting both, Constantia  is just as magnificent and only 15 minutes from Cape Town City.  
Stark-Conde is situated on stunning land surrounded by mountains and a tasting room situated on a pond.  The architecture of the restaurant resembles Spanish style.
The wines are pretty good, but the views are breathtaking.
Hidden Valley also has nice views and an award winning Pinotage.  They have a full restaurant and an option for a large sampler platter with hummus, jams, pickled veggies, a selection of cheeses, olives and bread.  A trip out to Stellenbosch is a great way to spend an afternoon.

Relax:  The Steenberg's Spa is the perfect way to close a hard day of wine tasting.  The Elixir massage is the best I've ever had.

A visit to the Cape Town wine region transports you to a whole new world of beauty, wine and luxury.  Still missing the time we spent on a vacation of a lifetime.  Plan your next trip to Africa.

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