It goes without saying that we do like ourselves a fair bit of travelling. The great outdoors, the great indoors, stopping for a Wimpy coffee at the side of the highway and ordering a sandwich in Enrique Iglesias’s mother tongue – if it’s different to my coffee and sarmies at home, then you may sign me up.
So imagine the squeals of delight when a box filled with Tangled Tree wine arrived at our doorstep. And won’t you know it, they were made for travelling – neatly contained in slender, chic plastic bottles as opposed to glass that goes ka-klunk ka-klunk while you’re driving on a dirt road.
And here’s the best part – it was still early April, so we had an overindulgent amount of South African public holidays to look forward to. With time in our pockets and wine in our boot, we decided to take our wine places. So in the words of Cosmo Kramer: Giddy up.
Hello sunset, meet my friend sauvignon blanc
There is nothing (nothing) like a Cape Town sunset. We gawked at a couple in Thailand, missed a couple in Mexico and got engaged during one in the Czech Republic, but a Cape Town sunset is just magical. Now many folks will tell you that the best place to watch the sun setting over Cape Town is >insert an infinite amount of places here<. It’s all relative – and very, very subjective. But one that really grabs you by the ears and says to your face ‘this is real beauty, son’, is watching the sunset from Bloubergstrand. To your left the city hides in the mountain’s shadow, right in front of you lies Robben Island and in between it all some gallons and gallons of salty seawater, gently slopping about. So we decided to crack open our first bottle there and then. The wine was easy on the palate, we were easy on the conversation and the sunset was just beautiful. Sunsets and sauvignon blancs should really get hitched. They were totally made for each other.
Elgin. Elkin. Tomato. Tamato.
Since moving to Cape Town, we realised that not all things are pronounced equal. In Joburg we say ‘muslin cloth’ and in Cape Town they say ‘maslin cloth’. In Joburg we order ‘rotis’* and in Cape Town they order ‘rooties’. Which brings me to our second travel destination. Elgin – the real home of the big apple(s). Now we pronounce it with the ‘g’ like the ‘g’ in engine. But I’ve heard two people, who I trust dearly, pronounce it like the ‘g’ in Goethe. But seeing that I didn’t take phonetics at university (and I didn’t grow up in the Western Cape) I cannot say with any authority what is what. What I can say with authority – thanks to my dear friend Google maps – is that Elgin is a leisurely 56-minute drive from our apartment in Gardens. That is if you head straight for the apple trees. But you shouldn’t. Because there is a restaurant/deli/farm stall called Peregrine en route that will turn any low-carb disciple into a gluttonous glutenite. Oh the breads! Oh the pies! Oh the tarts! It’s a feast for the eyes. Rumour has it that their pecan nut pie is worth driving 56-minutes for.
Elgin is the kind of place you meander through gently. Roll down the car windows, have a friendly argument about what album to listen to and check out them apples. That’s basically what we do every time we go there. You never really stop anywhere specific, but the views are so spectacular that you tend to stop everywhere. We decided to pair the bottle of Moscato Rosé with them apples. They blushed. We blushed. It was the perfect pair.
Chocolate. ‘Nuff said.
Our third bottle, the Chocolate Cabernet Sauvignon, didn’t make it outside of our apartment. We hosted an Easter brunch with mimosas, which turned into an Easter lunch with wine and leftover Easter eggs. The bottle had ‘chocolate’ written all over it, we had chocolate written all over us, so it seemed like a good match. It was.
Castles made of sand
Our fourth bottle, the Butterscotch Chardonnay, took us all the way to Knysna. Yes. The Husband had an ‘if I take one day’s leave, we can go away for a whole week!’ moment after checking out the next round of public holidays. So we took an extended long weekend in May (just like the rest of Cape Town). We only managed to get out of the city at around 7pm (just like the rest of Cape Town). Come long weekends, they should regulate the traffic out of town like they do during dinner service at wedding receptions – tables 1 and 2 are first to dish up, then tables 3 and 4 and so on. We could divide our neighbourhoods up in sections and then everybody will be able to get out of the city, stat. It took us 2 hours to drive 20km, and our road trip flask of coffee was consumed 5km from our home.
Now there’s one thing that every traveller to Knysna should be aware of: there are speeding cameras EVERYWHERE. If you look underneath your chair, you’ll find a speeding camera. Behind your ear? Oh yes, there it is, blinking away. The highest concentration of these cameras is between George and Knysna and within the heart of Knysna as well. So take it slow. But you’ve got every reason to take it easy because this is such a pretty part of the Western Cape, especially in autumn. We entered the town in awe, with Knysna Lagoon on our right and a siege of speeding cameras on our left. Opposite Knysna Lagoon lies Belvidere Estate, and the autumny colours prancing around in the lagoon reminded me of a scene straight out of small-town America.
Now, one does not just drive to Knysna just to gawk at the trees in autumn. The Knysna Heads is a must-see as well (although we struggled with the seeing part, because it rained really really hard). We meandered to the Red Bridge Brewing Co. at 11am, went for a hike at Pledge Nature Reserve, saw some dolphins bouncing along Buffels Bay and stopped for a spot of tea and chardonnay at Noetzi beach, which was such a good spot to crack open the last bottle of wine**.
Some Knysna snaps, including a couple of mushrooms at Pledge Nature Reserve, stormy waters at The Heads and a quaint street corner in Belvidere.
So the moral of the story is that you should always say yes when someone asks you if they can send you a case of wine. And then you should giddy up and take it places.
*Very important footnote: The Engen garage in Gardens has the BEST vegetarian rotis. 40bucks. 40 000 tastebuds dancing with their hands in the air.
**So I left one bottle out, the Spicy Shiraz, but we had an impromptu dinner at home. Sooo, that was that for the shiraz.