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Cape Town - Expect a sensory overload before you even reach The Robertson Small Hotel in the town of Robertson – beautiful valleys, vineyards as far as the eye can see and unsurpassed scenery. The route to the hotel is the world’s longest wine route.
In the late 1980s, there was no wine route – just a few estates and fruit farms, and a quaint hotel or two. No tourists to speak of.
Today over 50 wineries lie in the lee of the Langeberg, with eager folk from around the globe snapping up South African wine at bargain prices. The now bustling town is still small and unspoilt.
One of the number of national heritage sites in this charming town is Zandvliet, built in 1909 and now called The Robertson Small Hotel.
The elegant Victorian manor house shares immaculate grounds with contemporary buildings, meticulously blended regarding styling and design cues. The juxtaposition of colonial and hi-tech chic works brilliantly.
Deoné McLean ushered us to one of three stable suites alongside a swimming pool. Two rooms in the house and a separate series of suites open on to another longer pool. They are all fabulous and impeccably fitted, including extra-length king-size beds with exquisite cotton, Oxford-edged and satin-stitched linen.
Reuben’s at The Robertson Small Hotel is one of three restaurants overseen by Reuben Riffel. It is more intimate, minimalist and chic than the others and the food is fantastic. Order eggs and you get free-range duck eggs. We were in raptures over the strawberry soup, fillet, pork belly, sorbet… Reuben wasn’t in sight, but I shook chef Tiaan von Greuning’s skilled hand.
We explored, drinking in magnificent sights and wonderful wine.
Five generations of Viljoens have toiled the fertile soil at Viljoensdrift on the banks of the Breede, where I walked away with award-winning Villion sparkling wine and cabernet sauvignon after stating my indifference to both before tasting.
We enjoyed award-winning wines in the company of Peter de Wet at Excelsior’s tasting-room deck over a dam.
We also became honorary De Wet family members by blending our own varietal – bottling, corking and labelling our creation – to take home and declare ourselves winemakers.
From your base in Robertson, you can explore the beautiful surrounds.
We headed to McGregor, Ashton and Montagu – with a stop at Montagu Dried Fruit – and had a wonderful time at Weltevrede near Bonnievale.
Fourth-generation family winemaker Philip Jonker is a chardonnay specialist. There are accolades aplenty for their three terroir specific chardonnays and four Methode Cap Classiques. Wine tasting in the underground wine vault was followed by a splendid lunch at Weltevrede Bistro.
We also toured Klipdrift Distillery in town, had Klippies “met soush” – their four brandies paired with brandy-marinated grilled meaty nibbles – as well as a pairing with baked treats which included boozy apricot preserve, chocolate brandy truffles and the best koeksisters you could ask for.
l The Robertson Small Hotel is a member of the Portfolio Collection. Call 021 702 1236, or visit portfoliocollection.com - Weekend Argus