Painting the valley red @ Rooiberg

Howdy guys,

My visit to Rooiberg Winery has been the perfect start to this new addition to my blog. Let me start of by saying that I’ve always maintained that the people from the Langeberg area are a special breed, really very nice people (okay, perhaps I could be a tad bit bias since I’m from the area). However, having said that; Ashley Jaftha from Rooiberg Winery was an absolute delight, like a breath of fresh air. She was incredibly passionate about the wines and let me tell you, this lady knows her wines. I couldn’t help but fall in love with every sip of Rooiberg wine.

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Look at all the awards stickers on their Reserve Chardonnay (left) and Ash with a bottle of their Red Chair Bean There Pinotage which features a hint of coffee (right).

I stumbled into Rooiberg Winery on Tuesday like a lost tourist but I was immediately welcomed by the friendliness and hospitality of everyone there. Because Rooiberg operates as a cooperation with 34 members and 16 farms that grows their various grapes, it is able to keep their prices at a minimum making their wines very affordable to the public, Ashley explained to me. Last year they produced around 10,800 tonnes of grapes generating between 7.2 million and 8 million litres of wine. Man, that’s a sh*#%t load of wine! (Pardonnez mon français)

I tasted six types of wines. Here they are in chronological order;

Flamingo Sparking Wine

Just arriving inside their tasting room from the excruciating 30 degree heat on Tuesday, this sparkling wine presented a lovely solace. It is produced from the pinotage and the red muscadel grape and is not an MCC (Methode Cap Classique a sparkling wine which is made in the traditional Champagne style), but merely a soft carbonated drink, says Ashley. It has a 9% alcohol level and is really lovely when served cold, I can certainly attest to that. It has a slightly sweet, fruity taste but it’s very subtle and not overwhelming. I would recommend this lovely, light wine for a lazy afternoon cooler. It really managed to quench that thirst (if you know what I mean?).

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The Flamingo is a semi-sweet sparking wine (left) while they also offer the Rooiberg Winery Rose Natural Sweet (right) as a lovely alternative.

Rooiberg Red Chair

Their latest offering, the Red Chair collection, was created to capitalise on one of their biggest marketing ploys; the ‘Biggest Chair in Africa’ and it’s worked wonderfully, says Ashley. “People love the idea of this massive, red chair outside our door and we thought why not create a range of wines to compliment this creative marketing initiative. People love a good story and the red chair has become one of our stories, so we made it part of our brand,” she said. They launched the Red Chair brand in March last year and they hope to have the wine in local Checkers stores by next month (November). “We are very excited about this new range,” Ashley said.

And the wine certainly lives up to its creative birthing idea. First up was the Red Chair Sauvignon Blanc De Light. This is a very light and refreshing wine. It’s the type of wine (my dietary) dreams are made off; it’s low in kilojoules (yay!) and low in alcohol (9%), but full in taste! It has a zesty, lime taste with a fruity flavour aftertaste. I also wanted to taste the Red Chair ‘Bean There’ Pinotage and found it a lovely delight of dark mocha and rich plum with velvety linger in your mouth. The alcohol level in this wine is 14%.

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The Red Chair range (left) next to the creative genius behind its name; the actual ‘Biggest Chair in Africa’ (right).

Columbar

Next it was onto, what I’ve found to be, my absolute favourite, the 2014 Columbar! The grapes from the Langeberg area tend to have higher sugar levels due to our climate, Ashley explains, which gives this wine just a tad hint of sweetness. Since I took the very first sip, a fruity, guava taste exploded in my mouth. It has a beautiful mixture of tropical and fresh honey aftertaste. It was so refreshing and light. I really enjoyed this wine.

We moved next to their range of red wines. Their flagship range of wines, the Reserve range, weighs up nicely with other superior wines from the area. The range is made from strictly A-grade, single variety grapes and matured in first fill French oak barrels. (For those who, like me, are less advanced in their wine knowledge, Ashley explains that this simply means that the Reserve range is the very first wine range to enter the French oak barrel, afterwards the barrel is reused to store some of their other wine varieties.) That is also one of the reasons their Reserve range’s wines are so DELISH.

Rooiberg Pinotage Reserve

To my palate’s delight, Ashley pulled out their award-winning Rooiberg Pinotage Reserve. It is the acclaimed recipient of the Gold Medal at the 2014 Gold Wine Awards as well as a Silver Medal at the 2014 International Wine and Spirit Completion, and rightly so. It has been 18 months wood-matured and has a purple, deep ruby shade. Your tongue really comes alive with the very first sip. It’s has a combination of redcurrant, blackberry and subtle vanilla notes from aging in the new barrels.

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The Rooiberg Winery’s Reserve range.

Rooiberg Cape Vintage Port

As with all good things in life, this trip too had to come to an end, sadly. And Ashley didn’t disappoint; sending me off with a final tasting of their delish Port. Very fittingly, this 18-month matured, desert wine left that good feeling of satisfaction on my tongue. The aromatic flavours of fruitiness lingered in my mouth as I walked to my car. It wouldn’t be too long before I pop into Rooiberg Winery again. And that’s a fact.

Rooiberg Winery also boasts a GORGE restaurant, Bodega de Vinho, on the premises for a yummy lunch.

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Restaurant Bodega de Vinho at Rooiberg Winery.

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Another Bodega de Vinho snap.

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I absolutely loved the chandeliers at the restaurant, it just gave it that romantic feel.

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Ashley and I after my tasting… I’m still holding up after a few glasses. #soproud

Visit Rooiberg Winery’s website for more info and prices on their various wines. Also, please follow Rooiberg Winery on twitter and facebook. A special thanks to Ashley Jaftha for the wonderful tasting. I had such a fab time, also follow her on twitter.

If you don’t follow my blog yet, please subscribe by clicking on the tab on the right side of the blog. Please also follow me on twitter and follow my blog on facebook. I’ll be posting a lot more reviews over the coming months.

Ps. Thanks to Rooiberg for this tweet… ↓

 

I’m so incredibly humbled.

Till next time, xoxo

Helloooo Wine-not SA?!

**ANOTHER BIG ANNOUNCEMENT**

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In line with keeping the adrenaline going and the blood pumping, I have more exciting news! Yip, you guessed it; I’ve added yet another new section to my blog called; ‘Wine-Not SA?’. This new section will feature the latest in local wine news, plus I will do reviews of our lovely wine valley and the DELISH wines we produce here. I am sooo excited! I cannot wait to taste some yummy wines and share it with all of you.

Please subscribe to my blog to stay updated with my latest offerings. Many thanks to those who are already subscribed. Also, feel free to leave a comment should you agree/disagree on my reviews.

Here’s to happy wine-drinking… oops sorry, I mean, ‘wine-tasting’ 🙂

Till next time… xoxo

Wacky, is that you?

Once or twice a year, an event happens in the Langeberg and Robertson Wine Valley that truly wakes us from our deep sleep and brings the entire area alive. Next week is such an event. The Wacky Wine Weekend, also known as the biggest festival on the social calendar in the Langeberg area, is taking place next week right here in our little valley.

Visitors come from all over the country and all over the world to attend this festival. Last year I met at least ten Americans who couldn’t stop talking about how beautiful and underrated South Africa, and indeed the Langeberg region, is.

The word ‘Wacky’ has become a verb in our little area. Everywhere someone is confirming whether or not you’ll be ‘wackying’ this weekend. Essentially, the Wacky Wine Weekend includes about 50 wine farms in the surrounding areas, each of which offers a variety of wines and activities. Visitors purchase one ‘passport’ (at R110) that allows them to enter any of the participating farms and taste wines (note: taste). However, wine drinking and other activities come at an additional cost.

With the passport, you’ll also receive a little goodie bag that contains a wine glass (for the tasting that’s about to go down) and an itinerary which indicates what activities each farm will offer. You can then select a farm to visit based on whatever tickles your fancy. There is everything from stalls that sells fragranced soaps and candles, to some of the yummiest foods, to entertainment for kids and adults alike. It’s extremely well organised and so much fun.

The countdown to the Wacky has officially started and the anticipation can already be felt with the residents here. Come on Wacky, we’re waiting…

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The winter is coming…

While the folks in the north are getting ready for summer, we here in the south are bracing ourselves for yet another cold and wet winter. And if the longevity of this year’s drawn-out summer is anything to go by, I can predict that this year’s winter will be looong and brutal.

However, in line with my melancholic side, I absolutely looove winter. I would be happiest if it could rain everyday. Love, love, loooove the rain! While we gear up for winter, I’ll share a list of my faviourite winter must-haves…

Here goes;

1. I love big Boots and I cannot lie!

I love boots; long boots, short boots, black boots, white boots, high-heel boots, flat-heel boots. Boots, boots everywhere! A girl can never have too many pairs of boots. These are my fave pair at the moment. It’s a pair of Caterpillar boots that I picked up at Old Khaki but they’re also available at Cape Union Mart. They are the most comfortable pair of boots in the world and I am so in love with them. They’re totally worth the price.

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2. Butternut soup

Here’s a banal fact; anything with butternut is king’s food in Meriza’s world and butternut soup is no exception. Anyone who knows me will tell you that I’m an addict for Woolies’ butternut soup. It’s incredibly creamy and oh so very yummy! I try to stock up as much as I can, as often as I can. It’s an absolute winter must-have.

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3. Rusks

A cold winter’s morning without a cuppa java and a few pieces of delicious rusks would simply be wrong. I prefer Woolies’ Ayrshire Buttermilk & Bran Rusks but when I try to watch the calories I opt for Ouma’s Lite Muesli Rusks. They have borderline cardboard tendencies but at least they’re ‘easier’ on the hips. I do love me some rusks.

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4. Cetaphil

I have a skin condition called ‘Atopic dermatitis’, as my dermatologist calls it. My skin flares up especially during winter and I have to take extra care of it. I use this wonderful product called Cetaphil. It fights the cold and keeps my skin soft and moisturised. It really is the best product out there. I wouldn’t be able to survive winter without it. It works wonders for my skin.

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5. Electric blanket

Together with my fluffy duck feather duvet, my electric blanket is my other winter bestie. The Langeberg valley gets extremely cold during night times and it’s almost impossible to survive without an electric blanket. It’s the best invention since sliced bread. Trust me, once you go electric, you never go back.

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6. Red, red wine

No winter’s evening would be complete without a glass of red wine in front of the fireplace. In fact, it’s probably the only thing that makes the cold slightly bearable and enjoyable. Throw a couple of pieces of steak on the fire, invite over some interesting conversationalists, and you my friend, may just have one of the awesomest times of your life. I heart red wine. The end.

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7. Red hat

I bought this red wool hat at Woolies a few years ago and it has been one of the best investments I have made to date. It simply does not go out of style! Never does a winter go by without me rocking it at least a dozen times. And it looks elegant and stylish and fits my ‘mostly’ neutral-coloured wardrobe perfectly.

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8. Blush

I’m always jealous of lighter skinned people who manage to pull of au naturel blushing cheeks during cold winter days. I simply cannot blush, or maybe I do underneath my skin colour, but no one sees it. Luckily, the makeup gods have made provisions for people with non-blushing cheeks like mine. (Thank you makeup gods!) I use a variety of blushes including Maybelline, Bobbi Brown and Loreal. Artificial pink cheeks are as good as the real thing, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

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9. Chamomile tea with honey

Another winter favourite is my Chamomile and Lemongrass tea with honey. However, at the time I took this picture, I only had Freshpak’s ‘normal’ Chamomile tea, which is the second best thing. Besides for tasting delicious, it’s packed with antioxidants to keep up your immune system and fight those nasty flu viruses. Win-win situation, don’t ya think?

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10. Heater

A bit of an obvious choice, but a house is not a home without a heater in the winter. No, you don’t understand; the winter nights in the Langeberg can easily drop to around 0 degrees Celsius and it can be pretty brutal. A heater is not only vital, it’s a necessity. Get a heater, or die. It’s really that simple.

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Do you have any winter must-haves? Tell me in the comments box.

Until next time,

M xx

Happy Freedom Day, my beloved country.

On 27 April 2014 we celebrated 20 years of freedom in South Africa and although I was home in my little town, I nevertheless made use of the opportunity (and the gorgeous, sunny day!) to go out and get some snaps in remembrance and gratitude of those who came before me. May we never take our freedom for granted.

Alrighty, now onto the fun stuff…

I didn’t have to travel far to get the following great snaps at a little wine boutique and restaurant in Ashton called Platform 62. Its gorgeous and offers an array of delish foods, dried fruits, wines and a variety of homemade jams and rusks from all over the area.

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The view from outside Platform 62.

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Another outside snap. How beautiful are the Langeberg mountains at the back? #lovit!

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Another angle with more of the mountains.

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Another outside pic. I simply couldn’t get enough of this gorgeous day.

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The cars were lining up very quickly.

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Local is lekka at Platform 62…

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A variety of homemade goodies to offer. #yum

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Big bottles of wine from Zandvliet on display.

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A lovely outside relaxing area at the back.

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Enough wine till Kingdom come…

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I loved this little message on the wall.

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Some homemade rusks from Ouma Annie.

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I loved this clock that was on sale.

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The old locomotive is a landmark in Ashton and situated right next to Platform 62. Of course I couldn’t miss the opportunity to get a snap of this beautiful beast.

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Next I drove through the Cogmanskloof mountains on route to Montagu and I simply couldn’t help myself. I had to stop to get a few pics of the lovely Cogmanskloof mountains. Isn’t it just breathtakingly beautiful?

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Love, love, looove this pic! At the very top, if you look very closely you’ll see the Old English Fort which is where the British soldiers hid during war time. It has little holes all around that was just big enough to fit through their guns as they were shooting at their enemies at the bottom.

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More mountain magic. How beautiful!

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This is the final pic, sadly. I was on my way back home and I simply had to take a picture of the gorgeous blue sky. And it worked beautifully! Wowie! Absolutely stunning!

I am so very fortunate to see these views at any given moment. So, so gorgeous.

Till next time…

Meriza xx

Easter in the Langeberg…

For Easter weekend this year, my family came from Paarl, Joburg and as far away as Nigeria to enjoy the loooong weekend with me in the Langeberg valley. The weather blessed us with the most gorgeous sunny days ever! Wowie, what an awesome weekend it was!

We simply couldn’t get enough of the sunshine and spent most of our time outdoors. I managed to get quite a few cool snaps inbetween all the fun. Here are some of the best ones…

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This was at Van Loveren Wine Farm just outside Ashton.

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This one was taken on the beautiful boat trip on the Breederiver at Viljoensdrift Wine Estate, also outside Ashton.

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Combination picture of Bourbon Street, a cosy little restaurant in Robertson (left) and the kitchen at Van Loveren Wine Estate.

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The very beautiful views of Viljoensdrift Wine Estate.

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Yummy foods at Van Loveren’s Bistro, Christina’s Restaurant.

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This must be one of my favourite places on earth; Mo & Rose at Soekershof. The beauty of this place is really understated… Not to mention the great food and wonderful staff. I lovit!

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Another angle of the boat at Viljoensdrift Wine Estate.

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I love this combination picture of Christina’s restaurant at Van Loveren Wine Estate.