Africa, Food, Travel

Spier Wine Wonderland

Winter is a time to cosy up in new warm spaces, discover restaurants that offer the best soups, trying everything new that brings warmth and laughter in cups and bowls. For me, winter happens to be my favourite season and with it comes endless wine tastings from of my now favourite wine farms- Spier Wine Farm. This past weekend I was invited to visit their farm for a winter wine tasting and to also try out their new wine range which will be hitting stores in July. 

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Right in the heart of Stellenbosch, there sits a Wine Farm with hearts and smiles ready to welcome anyone and everyone who visits with the hope of leaving with great winter memories and stories to tell. As gloomy as Cape Town looked outside, I was ready to be treated to a full day of wine tasting, landscape splendor and spoils by the globally acclaimed wine brand.

Spier Wine Farm is based in Stellenbosch, Western Cape South Africa- for me only 29 minutes drive from my apartment. Spier prides itself with offering a selection of wines which its history dates back to 300 years ago. It is not just a wine farm but also offers luxury accommodation and conference facilities- talk about a brand that has it’s hospitality together. Besides the farm being environmentally friendly, they have recently added a wine range to their selections of wines and I am living for it and this is why I was exclusively selected to be one of the first few people to taste it.


About the tasting:

As part of their winter tasting and beyond that, Spier Wine Farm have released a wine range called Seaward – “a wine inspired by the cape’s coastal terroir”

Seaward wines are truly differentiated by their terroir, both within South Africa and globally. The Cape is one of the few wine growing regions in the world where two different ocean currents converge. Moreover, its coastal vineyards are distinct from those located inland, because the surrounding mountain ranges act as a natural barrier to those very cooling sea breezes that give ocean-facing grapes their unique character – a character that reflects resolutely in Spier’s new Seaward Chardonnay and Shiraz.- Spier Wine Farm

Upon arrival, we were welcomed by warm weather and green landscape and for me, it opened an endless array of smiles and magnificent hospitality! The winter tasting comprised of the following wines and pairings:

  • Spier Creative Block 2 paired with some cauliflower and smoked cheese soup to go with it.
  • Sauvignon Blanc and Sémillon– I can still taste the crisp white blend!
  • Surprisingly one of my favourite from the new range, the lightly-wooded Spier Seaward Chardonnay paired with a carrot soup topped with goats cheese and cashew dukkah.
  • The love of my life- the richly suave Spier Seaward Shiraz paired with a spicy roast tomato and basil soup which reminded me of my grandmother’s tomato gravy.
  • finally, the wonderfully and sweet warming Spier Cape Vintage Selection.
Did you know: You can use simple home baked bread to cleanse your wine pallet?!

My favourites from the entire winter wine tasting have to be the Spier Seaward Shiraz, Chardonnay and the Creative Block 2. The chardonnay is best for people who are still new in their wine discovery journey as it is light and soft on the taste while Creative Block 2 is rich and offers this berry aroma that compliments the spicy taste when paired with the carrot soup. As for the Shiraz, I am a lover and a fan and it is refreshing that Spier got this right.

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This brand offers a mellow tasting Shiraz with the flavour heightened the moment you taste their spicy roast tomato basil soup which for me is the most perfect pairing of all time as the chili in the soup releases the spice in the wines and it just hits the throat in the most subtle and perfect way (YES, I said “perfect”).

Please be advised that the tasting is VEGAN FRIENDLY and kids can also enjoy a day of tasting house juices while the adult enjoy spicy drinks.


About the Seaward range:

The Spier Seaward Chardonnay 2018: Made with grapes sourced from the Tygerberg Hills, this lightly-wooded wine has aromas of ruby grapefruit, mango, citrus with undertones of raw almonds. The creamy palate offers fresh citrus and nectarine notes with well-integrated vanilla on the finish.

The Spier Seaward Shiraz 2017: High-quality Shiraz grapes were selected from Darling, Durbanville and the southern side of Stellenbosch for this wine. Having matured for 14 months in a mixture of first, second and third fill oak barrels, the Shiraz has beautifully layered aromas of mulberry, violets and plum supported by infused allspice. The palate has richness with good length and smooth tannins.

Spier Wine Farm wine tastings range R40 pp to R120 pp depending on your add-ons and pairings. Source: Spier Wine Farm



The Extras and Overall Experience:

As people like to force me to believe that I am “lucky”, the Spier Wine Stating was also accompanied by a winter Chef’s platter menu at Vadas Smokehouse & Bakery carefully selected by Chef PJ Vadas. This platter offers 8 dishes and thanks to my favourite season, the restaurant is slicing the platter price to only R200 pp. This price includes some of my personal favourites from the platter: a Kansas-city pulled pork; beets with feta, naartjie, dukkha and elderflower, smoked brisket and BBQ sauce among others. Please be advised that this winter menu is only available until August 2019.

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I will definitely be visiting Spier Wine Farm again because of their hospitality. With regards to their wine tasting, I am glad their Seaward Shiraz is different to all the wines I have tasted and better compared to wines from other farms that I have visited because of its smooth taste and aroma that does not fill your nose before you even taste it.

Now I know there is no such thing as a perfect review, and most of the time I will have a critique or two about where I visit or what I use as a measure of improvement for brands- however, after visiting Spier Wine Farm, I truly have no negative points whatsoever! Spier didn’t just meet my expectations, they exceeded them! From making sure our table was ready on arrival, our consultant was all smiles throughout, plus she allowed time for questions and palette cleansing and this for me is a total plus!


Please enjoy a video below of my first experience at the beautiful Spier Wine Tasting.

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Africa, Travel

Hiking up Lion’s Head, Cape Town

Ladies and gentlemen, finally my first hike of the year has taken place and I feel GOOD! It feels good to have had the opportunity to start again- Here’s to many more *cheers.

Where to go:

Every mountain has its people and Lion’s Head seems to be the place where everyone goes to start off their hikes whenever in Cape Town for a long stay or just a tourist, passing through. It is the easiest and give you the view of Camps Bay, Clifton, Seapoint and Robben Island and you don’t have to pay a single cent to climb it. This hike takes about 1h45 minutes on an easy pace.

(Other people who want a bit of a challenge always go for Table Mountain, Kasteelspoort trail or out of Cape Town where you find the ponds you can swim in after a long hike and these take place during summer or just before summer ends into winter). Such hikes can take up the whole day which can turn into picnics and are best in groups for safety and fun.

Did you know?

Lion’s Head peaks at 669 metres (2,195 ft) above sea level. In the 17th century the peak was known as Leeuwen Kop (Lion’s Head) by the Dutch.

-Wikipedia

What you will need:

My hike days usually start at 6am to give me time to be fully awake and get ready. I usually start with a nice cup of coffee and packing everything I will need which is something like this:

  • Jersey: the top is usually windy and a bit chilly
  • head-band/scarf: I sweat a lot so I need something to help me holding the sweat back.
  • My cellphone: For an Uber ride from my place to the mountain and back.
  • Wallet: I take my wallet everywhere
  • I always buy fresh food on the day of the hike so I make a pit stop at a grocery store to get the necessities like water, grapes, sandwiches because you really must have some food at the top, it is relaxing.
  • Sunglasses: I have a pair sponsored by ThisGuy Eyewear which are AMAZING and only go for R550 because they are on sale. If you want to buy, you can get an additional discount by applying this code: SHADY_KARABOM and get 15% off.
  • Friends: hikes are better done in a group of two or more, that way you get to have conversations and gossip about everyone lol.

 

What to expect:

Hiking for me is like church so I treat it with so much respect. It feels good meeting people along the way who also enjoy it and share stories about all their travel escapades and who they have met and all. The only problem I have is the humans who run up and down the mountain as if they are running from something because one mistake, one can fall and take you down with them.

There are also people who bring their kids on their backs which is really cute, you have to start them young! and if you are scared of dogs, just know that sometimes there can be dogs up and down there so be mindful and don’t be scared, usually the owners are nice and the dogs are friendly.

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Lastly, here is a video of my recent hike. Enjoy it and share your hiking stories or hiking dreams and you never know…

Africa, Travel

Victoria Falls, Zambia

Imagine going on an amazing holiday only to find out that the airline providing the a connecting flight sold you dreams and then find yourself stuck in the middle of home and nowhere. On Monday I left Europe with the hopes that I will be home in time for a one man brunch and my bed. Instead I found myself with others stuck in Zambia courtesy of Kenya Airways (the story will be told another time).

Sometimes getting lost can lead to unexpected adventures. 

I met a group of people who were coming back from different corners of the world and we decided to use the opportunity to visit Victoria Falls.

Flowing from the Zambezi River over a cliff and into the Boiling Pot before flowing through a series of gorges is Victoria Falls, located in the western area of Zimbabwe. This is where you will find the Devil’s Pool, a natural infinity pool, is on the edge of a sheer drop. Spanning the river is 1905 Victoria Falls Bridge. The surrounding Zambezi National Park is home to white rhinos and elephants.

Myself and other companions entered Victoria Falls from the Livingstone side in Zambia where you can see a quarter of the waterfall and even though it is not everything, it is worth visiting!

What you will need:

  • We had to find transport which picked us up from the hotel and drop off back and also entrance fee fee into the park which totaled to 280 Zambian Kwacha.
  • Due to the intensity of the waterfall, the water hits the ground and there’s mist and little showers by the waterfalls, you will need a raincoat.
  • Because the ground is wet, make sure you were good shoes because it gets slippery.
  • For those scared of heights, you will need to cross a bridge that is high up to get to a different side to see more of the falls.
  • Take your time and just breathe in the freshness of the waters and surrounding.
  • There are monkeys everywhere, get your camera out.
  • Make sure you have cash, it is easier than finding a card machine.

What you need to know:

  • Zambia is hot! People who are like me, buckle up because you are going to be sweating your tits off.
  • Visit the falls super early when there are less people around then you get to really enjoy it. They open at 6am and close at 6pm.
  • Wear comfortable clothes. Zambia is great because even the gravel roads have names, something you don’t see in South Africa.
  • There are lots of lodges, it should be easy to find accommodation close to the airport.
  • Livingstone is 5km away from the Zimbabwe boarder and 200km from the Namibia boarder.
  • It is not expensive but the Kwacha is stronger than both the Rand and Dollar.
  • Zambians are beautiful people- I mean of course, you are in Africa anyway!
  • You will most likely fly with Kenya Airways, prepare yourself.
  • I had beer from there and it was really good for someone who does not enjoy beer, I think you will love this one.
  • 52% of Zambians speak Bemba and some words are similar to those in other South African languages (e.g: There is a street called ‘Mosi-oa-tunya’ translated to “the smoke that thunders” which happens to be another name for Victoria Falls.

I would like to thank the people I was with who put the idea to visit the falls in action. I never thought I would one day visit Zambia- even though it was not planned, I loved it.