Off the beaten track in Franschhoek

Today we made a day trip to Franschhoek; a mere 140 km drive (2x). Instead visiting wine cellars and all the other things most tourists do we decided to go a bit off the beaten track with the exception of a lunch at Reuben. Reuben (named after ‘Le Chef’) is best described as an upper middle class etablissement. But what surprised us was that the prices were very reasonable; well … the pork belly plus veggies, caramelized ginger and ‘pommes purée’ (=mashed potato) was not only delicious but also significant cheaper (despite more quantity) than at a restaurant in our village… Honestly; this was quite a refreshing surprise. Sorry Stanfordians, I had to mention this.

Virtually all tourists visiting Franschhoek stay in the main road but it’s really worthwhile to make a detour around the village which was, a bit more than 300 yrs ago, the place where the Dutch Governor Simon van der Stelt designated as the area where French Hugenots who were known with vinoculture could start growing grapes and produce wine.

Visitors prefer to park in the main road and today it was, as usual, full and some kept on driving up and down the road until a parking spot came available. We turned to the right and could park just around the corner. Walking along the parallell roads of the main street provides a different picture of the village (second picture) with gravel roads including potholes and all the other things of a typical village in the Western Cape. But property is still extreme expensive despite the fact that seemingly for whatever reason more houses/estates/etc. are on the market than a few years ago.

Anyway if you google for Franschhoek you’ll find plenty of information for the ordinary tourist but if you want to discover the real Franschhoek just turn right or left in the main street.

The bottom picture is made from a touristic hotspot on the magnificent Franschhoek Pass between Villiersdorp and Franschhoek.

_DSC7202_DSC7217_DSC7210_DSC7201_DSC7198

 

After the harvest and tomorrow we taste

Growing grapes is one thing but creating excellent wines of grapes demands at least as much craftmanship. Although modern technology helps the wine maker he/she still needs the, as the Germans say, ‘Fingerspitzengefuhl’. At Springfontein in Stanford, South Africa, the grapes are first manually graded (no machine can do it that good) and next the stalks and (partly) skins are automatically removed… well to keep a long story short: via cooling, pressing and (temporary) storage, etc. the wine matures in wooden barrels (and after that some wines mature a few extra years in the bottle in an optimal environment  such as a cellar or climatized room).

You can read between the lines that wine-making is a kind of magic and I don’t understand any of it but I can tell you the difference between a good and not so good wine.

Let’s keep the tasting for tomorrow. Here a few post-harvest pictures.

_DSC3163web

_DSC3145web

_DSC3167web

_DSC3159web_DSC3173web