Posts Tagged ‘wine’

Dieu Donne

…translates as “God gives”. A fitting name, with a view like this! Wine-tasting and dinner at Dieu Donne vineyard with the McGuinnesses, including Chris’ sister Beth who is visiting from Chicago.

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Vino with Dohertys

We took a lovely lap around the winelands with the Dohertys on Tuesday, accompanied by Sean’s childhood friend John, John’s wife Sam, and their adorable and impossibly long-lashed son Oliver.

After coffee at Sam’s parents’ B&B in Stellenbosch, we did tastings at Uitkyk (ATE-kik), Muratie, and Thelema, then lunch at Franschhoek’s La Brasserie restaurant, and roadside champagne on Franschhoek Pass overlooking the stunning valley. Cheers!

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Jimmy World Cup

Our friends Jared and Lindsay hold an annual wine-tasting contest every year with their families, named for Jared’s dad: The Jimmy Cup. In honor of their first Christmas away from Texas, they decided to hold a version here in Cape Town. We (of course, being us) suggested that it be a costume theme, and hence the Jimmy World Cup was born.

JG, Roxy and I represented Germany, with other people repping Mexico, China, the UK, Japan, Cuba, and the unanimous winner of the costume contest, North Korea’s own Kim Jong Il. I put up an astonishing second-place finish in the blind tasting, ultimately losing the cup to Cuba. Buncha Commies!

Heidi, Juanita, Johan, and Senor Guapo

Kim Jong Il, Kim Pug Il

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Day of Champagne and Vuvuzelas

Wednesday was a national holiday (Day of Reconciliation), so we headed out to the winelands with a group of friends, ostensibly to do some champagne “research” in preparation for New Year’s.  It was a stunning day, complete with a stop through Graham Beck (which is widely available in the States, and a tasty champagne if you run across some!)

We finished off the day at Paul and Addie’s house, taking turns blowing their vuvuzela out on the patio. If you’ve ever seen the South African soccer team play, you’ve heard the vuvuvzela. It’s the loud, one-note horn that SA soccer fans blow during matches. When you have a few thousand of them going at once, it is DEAFENING. I’m sure their neighbors were loving us.

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&Union (&Beer &Sausage)

We arranged one of our favorite Cape Town activities while the peeps were here: a tasting at local beer salon &Union. They were originally named Brewers & Union, but their historic former church building wouldn’t allow the word “Brewers”, so they’re now simply &Union. 

They have the greatest outlook on beer, treating it in a way typically reserved for wines — that is, identifying and appreciating the many layers of flavor, and carefully pairing each with food. In this case, mind-blowing housemade charcuterie!

The affable Simon led us through the tasting (our second time, but it will NEVER get old), walking us through the flight of 8 beers ranging from a proper Bavarian Weiss all the way to a sweet and creamy 13% ale. Each was paired with a bite of sausage (our hands-down favorite being the “Pig and Fig”) with cheese and/or mustard to bring out the subtleties of the brew. Truly eye-opening, and a whole new way of looking at the humble beer.

Come visit, and we’ll somehow force ourselves to go back and do it again. And again!


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Good Times at The Small Hard

We spent a STUNNING Saturday afternoon at Franschhoek’s La Petite Ferme winery (which we sophisticates — along with our friend Catherine, back in January — translated from French as “The Small Hard”). We were joined by Meg, Trey, and Maya (in addition to Dave, Betsy, and Roxy, of course), and all lolled in the grass with a few bottles of vino and two stunning cheese plates. (Yes, Catherine, THE CHEESE PLATE!!). 

Maya and Roxy are too cute together — each glad to have someone on their own scale to play with. Even when there’s a little leash-pulling or vigorous face-licking going on, they’re still good buddies.

The Hawthornes and Mangums rolled on to a charming guesthouse and stayed over to have dinner at the critically acclaimed — and deeply disappointing — Reuben’s restaurant, then headed out to Hermanus first thing on Sunday.





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Roxy's First Road Trip

Saturday, we headed out to Stellenbosh for their annual wine festival. And since you know we don’t go anywhere without Roxy, she came along too! If she can be snuggled into a scarf or sweatshirt, all toasty and in hearing range of a heartbeat, she’ll sleep for hours on end.

So I wore her around the festival for the afternoon, then we popped into our guesthouse (B&B) for a quick regroup and bowl of dinner for Rox, then she hopped back into her scarf (this time on John) and accompanied us to dinner that evening. We even made a brief 1-drink stop into a bar, where John got scolded by a shrill local chick for bringing a puppy to a bar. Better to leave one locked in a bathroom at home, I guess? Not this pug!


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No Autographs, Please

We went to dinner with some friends back in January, and there was a New York Times photographer lurking around the restaurant snapping photos to accompany an upcoming Cape Town feature they were working on. We all completely forgot about it until I read a review of the restaurant today and had a flashback to that night. One Google search later, I’m looking at us in the freaking New York Times!

First I’m rubbing elbows with Omar Little, and now this?! I’m practically D-List.


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I Love Crackers

Most wineries keep a guestbook to collect comments from visitors. Here are two entries we loved from Meerlust.

Two Japanese Kids Love Crackers:


Sascha Baren Cohen Visits Meerlust (seriously – they said he was dressed as Ali G that day):

boratGood good wines, too bad not in Kazakstan, my wives love u.

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A quick visit to Annandale winery, which is the first vineyard that John and I ever visited in SA, back during our exploratory trip last May. Annandale is the real deal – full of cobwebs and dirt and musty old antiques. And delicious port. One of our favorite stops!


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