We arrived in Franschhoek mid morning on a Saturday. The small town was surprisingly busy for early March. We were meeting friends, Hilary and Peter, who have been holidaying in the town every year for the past eleven years and as usual were staying at Reeden Lodge. Situated about five to ten minutes walk from the main drag of Franschhoek, Reeden Lodge comprises of several self catering cottages on a well spaced out farm. It’s a beautiful place to relax and chill out surrounded by countryside and mountains.
Once we’d settled in Hilary and Peter suggested that we visit the local Saturday market in town. It had a lovely small village fete feel to it, with live music, crafts and food stalls. Oh and not to forget a wine bar that served chilled pink bubbles by Graham Beck that we sipped under the shade of the trees whilst watching the world go by!
For lunch we wandered down the road to Franschhoek Cellar, where we sat outside under the shade and enjoyed a very good meal and a couple of very well priced bottles of Brampton Sauvignon Blanc. At R45, or £3 a bottle, it would have been rude to only have the one!
In the evening we went for a meal at Racine, the restaurant attached to the Chamonix wine estate and currently the flagship restaurant for local celebrity chef, Ruben. The food and atmosphere were very good and my first taste of Springbok certainly won’t be my last! However the desserts that Bel and I enjoyed were up there with the best that we’ve ever had!
The following day Peter chauffeured us around. We drove up to the pass in the mountains surrounding the town, past the sunbathing baboons on the road and gazed down at the wonderful views of the valley below us. We then headed to a couple of wine estates for tastings at Antonij Rupert and Rickety Bridge, where we all shared an amazing cheese and meat platter whilst enjoying the wines in the sun. The afternoon and evening was spent chilling out and sunbathing around the cottage and pool before having a lovely braai with a couple of Hilary and Peter’s friends and of course several bottles of the local wine!
The following day Bel and I booked ourselves onto the Franschhoek Wine Tram’s Yellow Line Wine Route. Our first stop was Grande Provence, where we got chatting to two Israeli lads named Rico and Eyel who we befriended and joined us on the day’s tastings. The second stop was Eikehof, a boutique winery situated amongst huge old oak trees and very much more down to earth than some of the bigger producers. The wines were delicious and the information provided by the lady owner was very interesting. Next on the list was Leopard’s Leap. As we drove up to the estate the large and very modern building came into view. It was surrounded by stunning vineyards and lawns. The tasting was very informative and we enjoyed some very good and exceptionally priced wines. We ended up walking away with a box of six assorted bottles! The penultimate stop on the tour was Chamonix. We sat outside sipping their range of wines whilst watching the bottling process from the recent harvest. Finally we arrived at Dieu Donne. By this time I couldn’t really tell whether I was drinking a Sauvignon Blanc or a Shiraz but the views across the mountains and down to the valley were superb.
The following day, feeling a little hazy, we reluctantly said our goodbyes to Hilary and Peter, who had been extremely kind in putting us up for a few nights in their cottage and showing us the sights of Franschhoek. I can totally understand why they have been coming back here every year for the past eleven years!