Riebeek Valley Weekend

Still a few posts from the holidays…

Our festive season actually started with a wedding in Riebeek Kasteel and what a great excuse for a weekend away.  We got hold of a few friends in the area, organised to stay at one of their sheep / wheat farms and we were set.  A round of golf in Mooreesberg on the Saturday morning followed by breakfast at Mama Cucina in Riebeek Kasteel and then onto the wine farms. 

Riebeek Valley is surrounded by wheat fields, but the two small towns of Riebeek Kasteel and Riebeek West actually have quite a few wine and olive farms in and around them.  Riebeek Kasteel is also well known for having great restaurants, quaint shops and the perfect spot for a weekend getaway.  Only an hour or so from Cape Town and you are worlds away from the hustle and bustle of the City. 

We had a delicious breakfast at Mama Cucina’s, right in the middle of town.  Seeing as the holidays had officially started we enjoyed a bottle of bubbles – Pieter Cruythoff Brut (also from Riebeek Cellars) with our breakfast, a light, nice and dry not too sweet sparkling brut.  Then moved on to the first wine tasting.

A friend who works at Riebeek Cellars was with us and took us to their tasting room situated in town.  The actual cellars are just outside town and you can taste wine and go on tours during the week, but we were there on the weekend so we popped into the tasting room.  Riebeek Cellars are a co-operative (like Windmeul, KWV, Tulbagh Winery, etc), meaning it is made up of a bunch of members, in this case vineyard owners, who all deliver their grapes to the co-operative.  The Co-operative then produces, markets and sells the wines and the members receive their portion of the  profits.  Now the benefit of these co-ops is that they usually have very large quantities and are therefore, through economies of scales, able to produce good quality wines at very reasonable prices.  So when you are looking for easy drinking reasonable wines, these names are always good options.  A lot of them also have very good premium ranges too.

On this particular occasion, with the 40 degree heat outside, we merrily sipped through some of the easier drinking lighter wines in the tasting room.  The Montino wines are Riebeek Cellars’ light wine range with only 8.5% alcohol, as well as being low in kilojules.  The Montino Light, has now become a family favourite.  It is a lovely crisp and refreshing white wine, with a few bubbles – not unlike a wine spritzer, it actually tastes quite like appletiser.  What a hit for the summer time!  The Montino Rosé version is a little bit sweeter, it literally tastes like graptiser, and the Montino Rosso is also sweet just a bit drier.  Personally I would stick to the Montino White.

In the Riebeek Cellars range we tasted the Riebeek Cellars Chenin Blanc, one of their best sellers, which is very very nice,  The Sauvignon Blanc was slightly tart with some green peppers in the mix.  The Rosé was also really nice, made only from Pinotage and having spent 4 hours on skins to get the pink hues.  All easy drinking poolside wines at very reasonable prices.  The only premium range we tasted was the Kasteelberg Chenin Blanc which is wooded in new oak.  It had delicious peach, vanilla and wood flavours.  

A lovely relaxed, light and enjoyable tasting with friends.  Kloovenburg was the next stop for the day, an awesome farm.  I’ll save the details for another post.

The wedding we attended in the afternoon was at Hetvlock Casteel which I think is relatively new.  Right as you drive into Riebeek Kasteel on the right hand side.  It looks just like a castle and the ceremony was held on top, out in the open, overlooking the valley.  Quite the spectacular setting.  It seems they also have wine tasting when the venue isn’t being used.

What a brilliant weekend with new and old friends, loads of laughs and new experiences.  Being only a 40min drive from us, I think we should definitely go visit more often.  Perhaps in the cooler months though as the temperature reached about 41 degrees when we left on the Sunday to come home.

When last were you in the Riebeek Valley?  Where are some of your favourite spots?

RIEBEEK CELLARS
Tasting room in Plein Street, Riebeek Kasteel
Tel: +27 22 448 1213 
www.riebeekcellars.com

HET VLOCK CASTEEL
Church Street (R311), Riebeek Kasteel
Tel: +27 82 567 9132
S33°23¹22.74¹¹ / E18°53¹40.75¹¹
www.hetvlockcasteel.co.za 

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