A client gave me a simple brief for a day tour: wine tasting, lunch must be a food and wine pairing but not in Franschhoek as we did last time and not in Stellenbosch because that’s where she and her friends would all be staying. So it made perfect sense to go to the beautiful Hemel en Aarde valley and book lunch at Creation Wines whose food and wine pairing is renowned. Hemel en Aarde means ‘heaven and earth’ and such a beautiful name is quite apt for this lovely valley with undulating hills and breathtaking scenery.
15 eager travellers bundled into the bus on a crisp cold morning in Stellenbosch and off we went along Clarence Drive, the scenic coastal route. First stop: Domaine des Dieux – the first MCC producers in the valley. MCC is the South African methode champenoise, called method cap classique. After tasting a few of these as well as chardonnay, pinot noir, and syrah, they pronounced it all quite quite lovely and bought a few bottles to take home. But first, why not sabrage? The friendly Ruan said it’s easier than it looks which gave my client all the confidence he needed to buy a bottle of MCC and we all trooped outside, glasses in hand. It was a great success although I suspect it was done with the sharp side of the sabre instead of the blunt side!
Then it was time for lunch – everyone was starving, including myself. The usual fabulous warm welcome at Creation Wines – Oscar and his team standing by to ensure a great time for everyone. The food and wine pairing went down very well, everyone loved the concept, the details, the different flavours, and the excellent very attentive service. I had booked the ‘secret pairing’ so no-one knew what was coming next. Course after course of delightful surprises were sampled with enormous pleasure. Extra wine was purchased to finish off the lunch and I was starting to wonder if a third tasting was really necessary. “Yes it is!!”, cried 15 voices. So, off we went.
Next, and last, stop – Ataraxia. We were late but the wonderful Hanli waited patiently and served up the most amazing tasting of these fine wines. The beautiful and extremely unusual tasting room, built on top of a hill in the form of a small church and exquisitely decorated, was greeted with many oohs and ahhs, and even though the day was grey and overcast no-one can deny the views are out of this world. This was the perfect end to a great day!
A very happy bunch of travellers sang all the way home, couldn’t thank me enough for a wonderful day filled with warm South African hospitality, good food, great wines, and awesome scenery. The Hemel en Aarde Valley never fails to make us look good – thanks to everyone!