Thursday, June 11, 2015

Grande Province Heritage Wine Estate: South Africa Winery Visit

Continuing the saga of our South Africa wine and safari excursion…
As we prepared to wrap up our first day of wine tasting in the South African food and wine mecca of Franschhoek, we decided to stop at Grande Province. The winery is a stone’s throw from Franschhoek Country House, the delightful bed and breakfast where we stayed.
Grande Province has history that dates back more than 300 years, when French Protestant Pierre Joubert hid his bible in a loaf of bread and fled his home town of La Motte-d’Aigues in Provence to avoid religious persecution. In 1694, alongside with other Huguenots, he arrived in Olifantshoek (Elephants Corner; later to be renamed Franschhoek).
The grounds of the wine estate, which offers luxurious accommodations as well as wine, are immaculate. Grande Province also features one of the most highly regarded art galleries in the Cape. Our destination, after a stroll in the shining beams of sunset, was the tasting room.
Being the big spender that I am, we opted for the Limited Release Tasting, which runs 50R (South African Rand), or about $4.15 US. We started with the 2014 Durbanville Sauvignon Blanc. This was nicely chilled and has a pleasant citrus tang and tropical flavors.
Since it had been a long day of travel and tasting, we were enjoying the cool whites. We continued with the 2013 Chardonnay. This was another winner with notes of vanilla and a crisp finish. We were pleased to find this wasn’t overly oaked.
Moving to the red end of the spectrum, we next tasted the 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon. This wine was lighter than expected with flavor notes of eucalyptus and mint.
Our final red was the 2011 Shiraz. The wine is aged for 15 months in oak. Despite that, the wine was a bit shy and the flavors didn’t bowl us over.
We ended on a high note with the 2013 Muscat. It is 100% Muscat d’Alexandrie and had a sensual aroma that wafted from the glass. On the palate it had a sensational flavor of honeysuckle. This wine is only available at the cellar door (as the South Africans refer to their tasting room).
Even if you never taste a single drop of wine (which would be silly), Grande Province is a sensational experience. From the elephant sculpture to the scenic mountains looming over the picturesque vineyards, every detail has been fined tuned.
The scenery, surroundings and fine wine make Grande Province a “must see” winery destination in the South African winelands.

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