Stellenbosch, South Africa, February 28,2016
There are 160 wineries in this area - am I dead and in heaven? Today we visited 4: Simonsig, Fairview, Dieu Donné, and Zorgvliet-
Simonsig was the first farm to make champagne in South Africa in 1971 which they sold for 3 rand/bottle or 25 cents. Today they sell 1.9 million bottles (not just champagne) to 49 countries.
Chenin Blanc makes up 60% of all grapes grown in S.A. Not only is it used to make white wine, but it's also used to make brandy.
White wine will have a yellow or green hue. Yellow means it contains more alcohol and comes from a warmer climate such as South Africa. A greener wine means it has less alcohol and comes from a cooler climate such as France or New Zealand.
When sampling wine, it's important to look at 3 things: color, taste and smell.
The grapes that make up my favorite wine, Shiraz, are 6000 years old and originated in Persia - today's Iran.
Red grape skins are used for color and produce tannins which are what make our mouths do backflips if it's not a great wine.
I don't mind pinotage which is a combination of Pinot Noir and Hermitage. It has made a huge comeback because in 1960 there was only one bush left - it's the only grape that grows on a bush - all the others hang down in clumps.
At Fairview we enjoyed cheese and wine pairings: Sauvignon Blanc with Camembert, Viognier with Roydon- cow and goat milk cheese and Pinotage with Chevin - goat's milk, black pepper and paprika. The last 3 cheeses are Crottin, Camembert and Blue Rock. They were paired with red blends-
Harvest takes place in February and March. The grapes are picked, their sugar content is measured, the skins are crushed and the juice is collected in these 51.000 litre drums-