What better way to spend a vacation than going to the source of one of the things you love most in the world? Or so thinks Capital FM Radio presenter Wanjira Longauer, on a recent trip to South African wine country.
In much the same way children get excited about unwrapping their toys on Christmas, I get excited about trying a new grape. A fermented one, that is. I like wine, a lot. I’ve imbibed the stuff for a few years now. My parents, who supported the findings that wine helps in digestion when accompanied with food, gave me small amounts of it in little Sherry glasses during dinner from the time I was about 11 years old. In adulthood, I often wondered what the hell those glasses were
used for before serving wine to me since we literally never used them for anything else.
Wine has always been a way of life, and, in my humble opinion, should be present at most lunches and all dinners. It should then come as no surprise to you that when I began planning a recent trip to South Africa, its world-famous wine country sat on top of my to-do list. A girlfriend told me she and a friend were also heading to S.A., as it’s popularly referred to in Kenya, and would be renting a car for a road trip from Cape Town to Durban, hitting up some vineyards along the way. Did I want to join? The rest is history.
Let me tell you, Stellenbosch is a plan and a half, my fellow wine drinking cohorts. From the luxurious wineries, you overlook vineyards, valleys and mountains, all lush and green, all the while sipping on some of the finest wines from some of the best makers in the world.
There’s living, and then there’s ”living”, as a visit to the famous Delaire Graff Wine Estate proved. Approaching the massive compound in our rental, all our senses became saturated. We meandered along the long driveway, engulfed in a gorgeous
garden whose flowers are brilliantly bright and heavenly scented. Laurence Graff, who established the winery, was a diamond dealer for many years, so luxury really is his thing, and no one in that car was mad about it.
We parked and proceeded to be greeted by a friendly hostess who led us into the main entrance, an impressive structure filled with grandeur. Art is everywhere, from the architecture to the furniture. I passed running water under staircases, light
music playing in the background, and thousands of dollars’ worth of jewellery sitting on display in glass cases, before stepping out onto the pristine balcony to take a seat, admire the overwhelmingly beautiful view on this warm and sunny day, and get to the main event.
That particular wine-tasting was unforgettable. We tried several bottles, with me pioneering for cheeky refills for us along the way and our pleasant server happily obliging. The Coastal Cuvée and Cabernet Franc Rosé were the finest wines I had during my S.A. experience – and I assure you that much wine was imbibed in the weeks that I was there.
The Cuvée was your typical Sauvignon Blanc (my favourite white) in its light, crisp nature. Aromatic, I sipped and enjoyed the flavours caressing my tongue, taking in its acidic and fine, fruity accented aftertaste. Still, my all-time favourite was that Cabernet Franc Rosé. This was the first time I learned about Cabernet Franc. Not all rosé is created equally, and this one is special. All pretty in pink, this baby begs your full attention in the first few sips, so you can make out the subtle hints of strawberry and blackcurrant which you’ll find here. Simple, fresh, slightly fruity and dry concisely describe this gem. I left Delaire Graff feeling warmer and bouncier than when I’d arrived.
As I gallivanted through S.A., people watched my social media posts and commented things like “it’s time to come home now,” while others asked what exactly I was up to out there. “Living,” I replied.
*Disclaimer: The designated driver was not drinking.