Stellenbosch, South Africa -- A Taste of the Wine District

While staying in Cape Town, we had befriended the executive chef at our hotel, Szabi.  Providing us with a map, winery suggestions, route info, and a hotel recommendation for the historical Hotel Stellenbosch, we were set for our visit to the area.  Even though most of the wine production in South Africa takes place near the Western Cape area, there are actually 27 diverse districts.  The tradition of wine making in this town goes back to the 17th century.  This region's combination of perfect rainfall and soil makes this a prime viticultural area and there are 170 wine estates here.  The local University is the only one in South Africa which offers a degree in viticulture and oenology.

Our hotel, built in the late 17th century, was centrally located in town surrounded by restaurants, shops and book stores.  Once again, with Szabi's guidance, we headed to the Jordan winery.  With such a huge choice of wineries to explore, it was helpful to have some prior direction rather than wandering aimlessly between the wine producers.  Alan’s preference is for Chardonnay and Jordan’s reputation for producing award winning vintages of this wine in addition to other white and red wines, was the reason for the recommendation.  Starting with a wine tasting, 6 for Alan and 3 for myself, we tried 8 different wines.  Our wine hostess explained the growing conditions, history of the vine and flavor notes on each wine with knowledge and friendly efficiency.  In the end, we left with a 2016 Sauvignon blanc, my choice.  Szabi has promised to ship our wine choices, so we were all set on that front.  

Moving to Jordan's restaurant we learned that during season reservations need to be made a few days in advance, but
we were easily seated.  2,3 or 4 course options were offered on the menu.  Choices were limited but varied and the food and presentation were outstanding.  I opted for Boerbok (goat) terrine with a prune puree and hake with a potato and truffle veloute.  Alan enjoyed a seafood tortellini followed by hake prepared with a parsley crust and fried calamari.

Deciding that we had experienced the best the area could offer and maxed out on wine for the day, we returned to town and called an end to the exploration of the wine district. 

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