South Africa, the final day

The last day of my South African trip. How I wish I could have stayed for longer.

Last night it was a wine dinner at the home of Dave Johnson and his wife Felicity (who founded Newton Johnson), along with other growers in the Hemel-en-Aarde region. Their home has one of the most spectacular views down the valley that you can imagine, towards the sea, and framed by mountains.

Hemel-en-Aarde is part of Walker Bay, and there are three subregions (the valley, upper and ridge), which has the potential to confuse consumers. The first two producers here – Hamilton Russell and Bouchard Finlayson – are in the valley.

It’s quite stunning. The wines are cool-climate in style, and impressive results have been achieved with Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir (in places) and even Syrah. There’s more to come from this region, for sure. The pictures here are taken from different bits of the region as we drove through on our way to Elim this morning.

After dinner, a few of us repaired to the Gecko bar in Hermanus. It was buzzy and quite noisy, and a band was playing. They were young and instrumentally talented, if a bit musically limited. The drummer, a stocky chap with scruffy facial hair, was very much in charge. He looked like an ugly version of Jack Black. It was quite a late night, so I was feeling a bit weary when my alarm went at 0645.

I have so much more to report from this trip. It will follow. I’m now in the SAA lounge at Cape Town airport. But I’m in row 71 on the plane.

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