We were lucky enough to get an introduction to the fine winemakers at Ernst Gouws and Co., and a tasting with Ernst himself. The tasting included Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Shiraz, Pinotage and Merlot. Ernst's Chenin Blanc and Shiraz were being shipped to the US for the first time just that morning. If you get a chance to try them, don't hesitate as these wines are well priced and delicious. The Shiraz was not the usual fruit bomb one encounters, but full-bodied yet supple. The Pinotage was tasty as well but the star of the show (for us - our landlady was quite fond of the Chardonnay) was the Merlot.
Ernst Gouws, Ezanne Gouws and Marie Beukes of Marie's B and B after the tasting. Esrnt Gouws and Co is now in its fifth generation of winemakers, with Ernst's children all following him into the wine business. Ernst chooses grapes from many of the area's growers, using his extensive long term local knowledge to perfect his wines. For more information, please visit their website at ErnstGouws.co.za.
The other day we rode our bikes
up the hill to the Blaauwklippen Winery, because we had heard that this
was one of the few wineries in the region that has Zinfandel. A lovely
ride down a long driveway flanked by vines led us to the winery and their small museum featuring 19th Century carriages and buggies.
Our pourer in the tasting room was the charming Wayne, a young man who has just been chosen as one of four 'Wine Ambassadors' for the South African wine industry, giving him the chance to travel to such places as Sweden to promote various South African wineries. Wayne is very personable, enthusiastic and knowledgeable and was well chosen for this job.
At Blaauwklippen, we enjoyed tasting a variety of reds, my favorite being the aptly named red blend Cabriolet. My husband was quite fond of the Pinotage.
Another view from Marie's B and B.
Tonight Stellenbosch is taking part in the Earth Night Movement, where everyone is encouraged to turn off their lights from 8:30 to 9:30 pm. They are closing off portions of two streets and the restaurants are taking over the streets.
More photos on Monday.