Welcome to the Western Cape Wineries - a kiwi's opinion blog

I originally set up this blog to help foreigners have an enjoyable experience when visiting the western cape wineries in South Africa.

I realised that it is very difficult for a tourist to choose where to go and which wineries to visit, when you have 600+ wine producers to choose from.

When I first moved to SA December 2010, my palate struggled to adjust to SA wine, b
ut after living here for a while and after visiting over 100+ wine estates, I have found many wines which I really like and can highly recommend.

Admittingly, when you come from another country it is hard not to compare the wine in SA to what you are used to back home. However, once you realise they are not the same (they have their own characteristics due to the different soil, climate etc) and appreciate their wines for being SA wines, it will improve your opinion and experience of the wines immediately.

If you are staying in SA for a while, don't dispair, your palate will change, and you will soon find yourself liking SA wine over your home countries wine!!

I hope my blog will help wine lovers have an enjoyable wine experience while in SA.

Please note: I am not a wine connoisseur. The comments I write about the wine is mostly for my own benefit of having them on record.

Sunday, 25 August 2013

Val Du Charron

We bought a Groupon deal to stay at the Val du Charron guesthouse which we used today. We bought this voucher in order to visit a few wine estates in Wellington and treat ourselves to a nice night away. We got to Val Du Charron at 3pm for the tasting and sadly the tasting room guy had left already (even though they close at 4pm), so we then asked the lady who told us this if she was willing to pour the wine for us so we could still taste the wine. She said she could do that but she doesn't know anything about the wine; she is still learning. That didn't worry us, as long as we could taste the wine.

While she was getting our wine tasting ready we had a look around the beautiful tasting room and went outside to admire the views.

We tasted the 2012 Four White Legs which is a blend of 33% Chenin Blanc, 24% Nouvelle, 20% Pinot Gris, 20% Sauvignon Blanc and 3% Viognier. This sells for R69 a bottle. It had lovely white-flesh fruity flavours (white nectarine, peach etc), is smooth, medium body, fruity and has fresh acidity. It had a very fresh finish to it; a lime and acidic finish. This wine is a little sour but in a good way. It was nicely balanced.

Next we tried the Erasmus 2011 (R85 a bottle), which is 31% Merlot, 31% Pinotage, 29% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Malbec, 2% Shiraz. This was smooth, fruity and pleasant. It had flavours of blackcurrents and mulberry. It was light - medium body.

The third wine for tasting was the Black Countess 2011 which is 44% Shiraz, 24% Pinotage, 16% Mataro, 8% Carignan and 8% Grenache Noir. This was light on the palate, smooth, and had dark fruit flavours like dark cherry. I liked it. This is R85 a bottle.

Overall, the experience here was nice, it is just a shame that the tasting room person was not there to do a proper tasting.

We then checked in to our room which was nice and had a lovely view!! We saw in the room that they were advertising their coffee, so we decided to go to the tasting room to have a cup while enjoying the sunset. There was a different girl at the tasting room/reception and she said she didn't know how to use the coffee machine. I thought, ok, perhaps she is new, so I asked how long she had been there and she said 2 months. After the exprience we had with the tasting and coffee we doubted how good the three course meal could be so cancelled our booking and went somewhere else for dinner.

To fill in time before dinner we bought a bottle of their Girlfriends Chardonnay at only R39 a bottle to enjoy while watching the sunset. This wine was not too bad considering the price.

To be honest, I wouldn't recommend this hotel considering the prices they charge. Full price you pay around R1200/night for two people as they claim that they have four star facilities and features. On their brochure, they say they have DSTV in the rooms (which they do) but there are only a few channels you can access, the coffee they offer for room service is not available because not all staff on duty know how to use the machine, the room is small with a small balcony and you can tell that the room hadn't been cleaned properly when you see millipedes curled up on the floor in the bathroom.

The wine was nice but I wouldn't rave about it. If you are in Wellington then I would recommend you come here because of the beautiful views and tasting room. I would definitely not come here based on the service or for the accommodation (not at full price anyway and not for four star facilities). They truly need to look in to how they are managing that place if the staff in the reception/tasting room don't know the wine or how to make the coffee after two months! It was quite a disappointing experince to be honest. But this could partly be because we were so excited about staying at this place after looking at their website and seeing photos of the place. Perhaps if you don't expect much you will enjoy this place.

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