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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Travel

The cash passport.

You have booked your flight. Got your visa. Bags packed. Now what?

At this stage you are probably thinking of calling your bank to notify them of “irregularities” that will be taking place in your account because you will be swiping your life away and living your best life. Well, not exactly! In most cases, banks block your card if they see unusual activity on your account even if you notify them prior to your travel. Great banks will even inform you of what to do in order to avoid that but hey.

A cash passport is a method of banking almost anywhere around the world without using your official bank card but rather transferring your monies from your bank account to a temporary card which can be used anywhere in the world. You have access to a maximum of 4 currencies on your card which are transferable as you travel and as you shop- NICE RIGHT!

I am with FNB and they somehow offer the quickest process for the cash passport, however, I could not apply for mine in time. Did you know FNB charges you R70 a transaction outside the country? That is a lot of money! That is a cheap burger and drink.

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You are required to have a minimum of $100 which is about R1,500 to start using your card. You can also reload it anytime you want, online. This card is valid for 5 years and the currencies can be changed every time you travel so which means you don’t have to apply for another in order to have a different currency loaded.

Service providers to apply for your cash passport:

  • FNB
  • Standard Bank
  • Western Union
  • Educonnect
  • Travelex
  • ABSA

Ever used a cash passport card before? How did it go? How were the charges?

You may ask how this is different to any credit card like American Express-

Please comment with your thoughts in the comment section.

Food, Travel

Strawberry picking at Polkadraai Strawberry farm

I would like to take a moment of silence to appreciate the fun moment I had at Polkadraai considering the fact that I have been trying to explore…

Polkadraai Strawberry Farm is in stellenbosch which is only 26 minutes away from Observatory on weekends without traffic. It is pretty much easy getting there and you’ll know by cars parked outside that it’t where you are going.

In order to be allowed to the strawberry grounds, a bucket for each person must be purchased which can be purchased in the first and only supermarket you see upon arrival in the farm. The buckets range in prices from R40.00 per person for kids to R190.00 for ultimate pickers.

What you need to know:

  • The farm is only open during these times and season: September to January daily, 9am – 4.00pm* (times might change depending on weather and holidays).
  • Picker bucket vary: Junior R40.00; The harvester R55.00; the professional picker R150.00; and the ultimate picker R190.00.
  • There are other fun things to do on the farm for families and kids such as tractor and pony rides, face painting, mini golf.
  • There is a food court which is super affordable. I spent R40.00 on burger and chips which were soooo delicious.

What I enjoyed:

  • Parking is totally free.
  • They have a range of buckets which suit everyone.
  • It is affordable and no entrance fee- just bucket fee.
  • You can pick as much strawberries as you want, as long as you are not greedy about it.
  • It is relaxing and their strawberries are very sweet and juicy.

What I did not enjoy:

  • I was a bit unprepared and I did not take a sunhat with me so I was sunburned
  • It can get a bit muddy so try wearing sneakers or any closed shoes that are not really important to you- NO HEELS.
  • We started at a ground where there weren’t a lot of strawberries and only got small ones until we were moved to a different field but our buckets were almost full.

There is literally a lot you can do. Just know that a group of 20 and more must call in first to book Click Here for more information

Food

Definitum Wines

“Wine is the only artwork you can drink.”

-Luis Fernando Olaverri

I agree with this wise man Luis. Wine can make you look at a random and simple situation with the most appreciation., It can have you confessing all your deepest desires. Tells the truth that people only deserve to hear without you feeling guilty or regret.

I was recently given an opportunity to taste Definitum Wines . They are based in Stellbosch and offer 3 of their select wines:

  • Arbalest which consists of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 15% Malbec, 10% Petit Verdot and Cab Franc 5%. This bottle goes for R120.
  • Benevolence with a composition of 36% Pinotage, 24% Malbec, 24% Shiraz, 12% Merlot and 4% Petit Verdot. This bottle is also R120.
  • Petit Verdot only has a composition of 90% petit verdot and 10% Shiraz and retails for R180.

All the bottles are sold on the Definitum Wines website and they deliver nationwide.

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My favourite of the 3 bottles is the Arbalest because it has a really good balance of the Carbenet and Merlot. It has a good fruity aroma on the nose and a soft taste on the throat- it glides. For me, it would go really well with a steak and some veggies with a little bit of mushroom sauce and chili in them and chocolate dunked strawberries.

Next time when you feel like a glass of something red, don’t be shy to visit Definitum Wines and orders yours to be delivered right at your door. The festivities are near and we are gearing up for the lit moments.

 

Please be advised that alcohol is addictive and not for persons under the age of 18! DRINK RESPONSIBLY! Definitum Wines