After the most wonderful evening, we woke up to the sounds of the farm and the bright sunshine pouring in our bedroom window.
I drew the blinds and opened the windows for some fresh air while we got showered and ready for breakfast. Without warning, a bird flew into our room and proceeded to freak out and continually try to fly through a closed window on the other side of the room. It was painful to watch, but eventually we got all the windows opened and coaxed the little guy out and into safety. Nothing like a little morning excitement, file under #lifeonthefarm.
When we arrived at breakfast, we told the other couple staying on the farm about the bird in our room. "Do you know how lucky that is?" they replied. Lennie and I looked at each other with blank stares. Bird's pooping on you, a twitch in your eye, ladybugs, four leaf clovers...but this was a new symbol of luck. Hmm...Everyone can use some luck.
After a delicious breakfast, we took a LONG walk on the farm with the dogs and just enjoyed the views. Everywhere you look is like a painting, it turns an ordinary walk into something extraordinary. When we returned, we chatted with Jan about where we should go for a day trip. We have been to Halfaampieskraal close to a dozen times, so we have scouted out most of the little towns and wineries in the area. Jan suggested we try Gabriëlskloof Wine Estate in the Bot River Valley, about a 50 minute drive from the farm. We called and booked a table for lunch and hopped in the car.
We arrived at the beautiful estate and started with a tasting since the restaurant was quite crowded (a good sign!).
The table was set up and ready to go. We started with the three whites: A Sauvignon Blanc, a Viognier, and a Blend called Magdalena. Although I prefer red wines, these three white wines all had the most incredible bouquet. I could not keep my nose out of the glass, it was so fragrant and full of beautiful notes. The Magdalena was far and away my favorite. The mix of Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc aged in oak created this stunning mix of tropical fruit and caramel notes. I wanted to drink it, and get the match body lotion...it smelled that good.
Amidst our tasting, a gentleman approached our table and asked if we would like to try the 2009 Sauvignon Blanc that had not yet been released. Obviously, we obliged. He and the winemaker lead us into the cellar with another lucky couple who were enjoying a tasting.
I loved seeing this behind the scenes look at the wine process. There is so much that goes into wine making.
The winemaker poured directly from the vat and I was surprised how cloudy it was.
It tasted fresh and grassy, and much "stronger" that normal wine. A bit like wine concentrate.
Then we were on to the next one...which tasted like asparagus and herbs.
After going deeper and deeper into the cellar with little tasting stops along the way, we arrived at the barrels and he warned us, "Your not going to want to spit this one..."
I was intrigued, this sounds like something special. He suctioned out a very rich colored red wine and poured us a taste. Again...the smell. It was out of this world, almost like a berry cobbler with vanilla ice cream being served in a room with leather bound books (how is that for wine description?). The taste...also incredible. It was 100% malbec that was being used for an upcoming blend they were going to release. A little piece of me died when I heard it was going to be used in a blend because it was SOO good on it's own.
Lennie's comment made me laugh: "I wish I could carry around a barrel of that wine and drink only that for the rest of my life"
If they sold it...we would of bought it. Maybe not a barrel, but at least a couple cases.
Then the tour was over and we went back to the tasting room to try the last two wines. Although I really enjoyed the Shiraz, nothing compared to that 100% malbec taste out the barrel.
After the tasting, we walked over to the restaurant and enjoyed an outdoor table. The waitress brought out an amuse-bouche of prosciutto, basil, and goat cheese.
Lennie ordered a hamburger.
I ordered a tart with caramelized onions, goat cheese, and sun dried tomatoes. This combo is totally my taste and I loved how the onions were the start of the dish.
For dessert, we shared a triple chocolate brownie. The gooey parts were amazing.
We were both shocked at how affordable lunch was. We didn't have wine, but we had bottled water, two meals, dessert, and coffee and our entire bill was 160.00 ZAR (approximately 20 USD).
Gabriëlskloof is stunning and the experience we had there was world class. The little places you find in South Africa never cease to amaze me.
The bird the room seemed to grant us a pretty lucky day. It's not everyday you get a grand tour like we did.
If your in the area, or passing through, I suggest you make a stop. It's worth it.