It was with a sense of sadness that I left Delaire Graff. Accommodation more perfect I could not imagine, and my night was over. I was off to Nederburg in Paarl, for some work – tasting wines that had been submitted for the famous Nederburg Auction.
10 experienced tasters were gathered to sort the sheep from the goats. The auction realizes that it needs to have high quality entries for it to be taken seriously, and our job was to make sure only good wines – all of which are older vintages no longer on the market – got through.
After this, I was off to the Worcester wine region, but not to taste wine. Rather than fly over the de Toitskloof mountains like the previous day, I was driving under them in a tunnel from Paarl, to visit the Fairhills projects with the Du Toitskloof Cooperative, which works in partnership with Origin Wine in this Fairtrade venture.
I was seeing how money raised from Fairtrade wine has been used to provide schooling facilities for the children of agricultural workers. Typically, both mum and dad will be working on the farms, and without the schools, young children would be with them. We saw the pre-school and primary school provision for these children. They even sang a song for us.
Then, it was back to Stellenbosch. I met up with Greg Sherwood and we went out to dine at the Jolly Parrot. Not Michelin star stuff, but you can’t say no to a boerewors hot dog with corn for 25 Rand. We started off with a Windhoek beer (it was high 20s, a warm evening). The wine list is short (4), but we found a couple of Brampton wines on it.
The Rose was delicious with an ice cube in the glass, and this went down easily. It was followed up with a bottle of the Brampton OVR, a perfectly respectable berryish red that had to be chilled down dramatically in an ice bucket (it was hot to the touch).
I had tweeted our whereabouts and before long we were joined by Ryan Mostert and Sam Suddons from Reyneke. True to form, they brought 6 bottles of interesting wine, plus four glasses. The restaurant were happy to let us drink them for a very reasonable 30 Rand corkage.
It was a beautiful evening, the wines were good, the company even better and the night stretched on and on. We finished off leaning on a barrel in the street after the restaurant closed, sipping wine and chatting, and in denial about the early start the following morning, thoough to our credit, Greg and I got up at 0645 for a 25 minute run around the town.