THE wonderful thing about visiting the winelands is that there are always new things and new places to discover.
Since Stellenbosch Wine Routes has more than 150 members, I’m not particularly ashamed to say I haven’t been to all of them; it means there are still plenty of joys to explore. See above.
So it’s taken me a while to get to Warwick, even though I’ve long been a fan of its wines. Turns out, it was worth the wait. My new friend Dianne (pronounce it “Dee Anne”), who was a flying trapeze artist in the 1970s – but that’s a great story for another time, and I went there last weekend. The day could not have been more perfect…warm, sunny, little puffs of cloud in the blue, blue sky…even I, so pedantic over equinoxes and such, can concede spring was in the air.
The lush green lawns (which belie the drought) are set up with picnic spots a decent distance apart from each other, comprising an umbrella, blanket, big poofy lounging cushion, and a low wooden “table” so the wine doesn’t fall over. Our place was at the edge of the dam, where we lay back and marvelled at the raptors gliding high above us, while sipping on the estate’s First Lady dry rosé. This range – sauvignon blanc, chardonnay, cab sav – is priced at just R40 a glass, and R80 a bottle. I’m useless with numbers but I can still work out the more economical option, despite the jolly large glasses they pour.
Our waiter Percy brought our picnic crate, and explained its contents: a big ciabatta loaf; a chunk of mature cheddar (and I am still kicking myself for not remembering to ask if they sell it to take home or finding out where it comes from); a jar of layered sweet chilli, cream cheese and basil pesto; a teeny tiny jar of onion marmalade; smoked butter; a salad of heirloom tomatoes, mange tout, butter beans and fresh little peas which was a glorious riot of colour; baby potato salad with red onion and fried capers tossed in wholegrain mustard aioli; divine biltong pâté; and thick slices of rare pepper-crusted beef fillet with its own aioli. For dessert there was gluten-free Key lime pie in jars. Apart from the bread, this entire picnic is suitable for the gluten intolerant, which makes a nice change.
It was a wonderful feast to be savoured at a leisurely pace, mixing flavours like the cheese with onion marmalade, or creating steak sarmies. More rosé was ordered, and we smiled as the large party of beautiful people across the lawn sang happy birthday to their friend as we became progressively more horizontal.
For those of you with children, there is plenty of space for them to play, and their own area with swings and such. It is thoughtfully set apart from the deck outside the tasting room. Of course, I had to stop in there on my way out to buy some wine. I also signed up for the wine club which has very complicated rules (to me, anyway – the numbers thing) but I’m sure it will all work out in the end. The discount is significant, and I have my eye on the magnificent Trilogy Bordeaux blend.
Vegetarian and children’s picnics are also available. For more information call 021 884 4410, or click here.
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PHOTO CREDIT: BIANCA COLEMAN