Day two started at the crack of dawn with a farm drive on the Jan Harmsgat working farm. It was misty and cold, very cold, but totally worth it! Everything was so beautiful, and once we got to the top of the hill the Sun made it’s appearance and the results were breathtaking.
On our way up we saw the herd of Wildebeest through the mist, they weren’t quite as happy to see us as we were to see them. Their grunts of disapproval were duly noted.
We continued up to the top of the hill where the lovely Jan Harmsgat staff laid out a mini breakfast for us. I barely touched it, not because it wasn’t delicious, it was (scones with a hint of cayenne pepper), but because I was having too much fun taking photos! Luckily there was another breakfast waiting for me back at the JHG restaurant.
Seeing all the fynbos covered with morning dew was truly incredible, I’m so glad I dragged my tired butt out of bed for it! When we come back I’m going to drag everyone out of bed and make them go with me.
[su_quote]Everything was so beautiful, and once we got to the top of the hill the Sun made it’s appearance and the results were breathtaking.[/su_quote]
Once we got back I quickly went to see if the husband had ventured out of bed, to my great surprise, he had. After a quick pack up we walked over to have our breakfast. We had a choice of fresh fruit parfait topped with homemade muesli and yogurt, various cold meats and cheeses, and our choice of any hot breakfast. There was freshly squeezed juice on hand and we ordered freshly brewed coffee, which I had roughly 4 cups of (can you say buzzzzzed). Jan Harmsgat is famous for their baked goods, preserves, and orchards, and I can see why… everywhere we turned we saw fruit, nuts, orchards and other produce, and it smells just as good as it looks! We didn’t get the chance to use the available mountain bikes, but they are there and we definitely will next time.
As sad as we were to leave JHG Country House, our next stop on our Robertson adventure had us very excited! I’ve been there a few times and it’s one of my favourites, Graham Beck!
We were taken on a tour of the entire place by the GB winemaker, Pierre de Klerk. The place is massive and ever-expanding! I had no idea that once the Méthode Cap Classique was “finished” it was left for five years before they sell it. Now that’s what I call a long-term investment!
[su_quote]We were taken on a tour of the entire place by the Graham Beck winemaker, Pierre de Klerk.[/su_quote]
There are rows and rows of huge stainless steel tanks of varying sizes, the biggest being Buddha (seen below). An overwhelming amount of machinery and crates filled with bottles of MCC everywhere you look. They have machines that rotate the bottle filled crates every 6 hours, and soon they’ll have a lot more. The entire process is as fascinating as it is expensive, and it really puts the price of MCC into perspective.
The Graham Beck cellar is divided into three sections. The first is dedicated to sparkling wine production, barrel maturation, and wine tasting. Cellar two is where the grapes are received after harvest and also houses the fermentation and maturation tanks. Finally, cellar three is for bottling, storage, and container loading.
They have a concrete cellar full of stacked bottles of MCC, just one section has 29,160 bottles in it, and as you can see (below) there are plenty of sections.
I wish I could remember every fascinating thing that was said, but what I do remember is the passion with which they make their products and the dedication to excellence. They continually strive to achieve more so that we, the customer, get the best of the best.
As they say, their mission is: the eternal pursuit of the perfect bubble!
After the tour, we tasted two MCC’s, and a few “still” wines (what they call their not bubbly variety). All delicious of course! If you love yourself some “still” Graham Beck wine I suggest you buy a few bottles ASAP because they are no longer producing them. Méthode Cap Classique will be their sole focus from now on. So once all the available bottles are sold, that’s it, game over.
The next stop on our Robertson adventure was at the Springfield Estate. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to stay very long, just a quick wine tasting at this family-run wine farm (owned by ninth-generation descendants).
My favourite wine of theirs is a delightful Sauvignon Blanc called Life from Stone. The name comes from the incredibly rocky soils in which it is grown. We also tried the Special Cuvée, the Wild Yeast Chardonnay and the Miss Lucy, which I absolutely loved. All their wines are unique and delicious! Something I really like about this farm is, besides being absolutely beautiful, they encourage you to bring your own picnic/food and just come and enjoy their wine! It’s a great place for the family, you can take the kids on the boat, or relax on the grass. They also have the most stunning Anatolian Sheperd named Felix who protects “his” herd of springboks every night.
[su_quote]Something I really like about this farm is, besides being absolutely beautiful, they encourage you to bring your own picnic/food and just come and enjoy their wine! It’s a great place for the family, you can take the kids on the boat, or relax on the grass.[/su_quote]
We went over to the Marbrin Olive Farm next, the weather was divine! Now truth be told, I am not a fan of olives, I have never stopped trying them and hoping to enjoy them but I guess it’s just not for me. What I do enjoy though is all the products they make with the olives!
We tried three variations of Olive oil – delicate, medium and intense. I preferred the two milder versions. By the way, if your Olive oil smells/tastes like freshly cut grass then it’s a good one, and most of the Olive oil we buy isn’t actually pure! Also, if you buy Balsamic Vinegar that’s not from Modena Italy then it’s not Balsamic Vinegar. So in a nutshell, Marbrin taught me that my whole life was a lie. But boy was it fun!
[su_quote]So in a nutshell, Marbrin taught me that my whole life was a lie. But boy was it fun![/su_quote]
Besides a bottle of your preferred strength of Olive oil, I recommend getting their Chilli oil, Truffle oil, and some Balsamic Vinegar. Their Tapenade is delicious too, we tried all these with delicious homemade focaccia. La Mont cheese also came to the party, along with Kranskop wines. The wine was great, the cheese was amazing, and some of the best fried Halloumi I’ve ever had. I couldn’t get enough of their spreadable full-fat soft cheese Ashton Creme!
We finished off with some strong homemade Limoncello and a walk around. Dogs, chickens, turkey’s, tractors and a play place. My kids would have had an absolute blast! This family owned/run farm is a must do, just be sure to book before you arrive!
It was then time to go to our accommodation namely The Robertson Small Hotel. A quaint but regal building in the heart of Robertson.
We were lucky enough to get the honeymoon suite, an attic room with gorgeous wooden floors. First order of business was a bath in that bathroom, complete with underfloor heating. A drink from the complimentary mini-bar, and 20 minutes of relaxing on the plush bed before dinner.
Our dinner at Reuben’s, the on-site restaurant, was somewhat disappointing. I think Chef Reuben Riffel should pop by and see what’s up. The dessert was the saving grace of the meal, garam masala ice cream is a unique concept and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Haven’t had enough? Don’t worry! There’s more to see and read in my Day 3 post…
If you have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment and we’ll get back to you.