December 11, 2018♥♥♥
The adventures in South Africa wine tasting continue with an overnight stay at the famous Sir Richard Branson’s winery Mont Rochelle.
For my birthday weekend (August 8th- which incidentally also fell over Women’s day which is a national holiday here- HOW AMAZING IS THAT?!), we decided to do our first road trip through South Africa! We had 3 nights to make the most of out of my husband’s time off so we began with one of our favorite activities here: some vino tasting of course!
We began with picking up my fellow expat friend, Roisin. She and her fiancé are from Ireland and Wales respectively. Her fiancé is here for work, and Roisin, like myself, is here for the adventure, but is faced with lots of spare time (hence how we met at our weekly torturous Pilates class and got on like a house on fire).
A quick 45 minutes later, we arrived to Franschhoek, and did a quick tasting stop at Rickety Bridge. I heard good things from friends and we weren’t disappointed. For 40 Rand (roughly $2.50 USD) you’re given 5 delicious wines of your choice from their generously extensive list. They were lovely, the service was charming, and although it was cold outside, we still sat on the outdoor terrace which was prepared well with heaters. Wine Tasting is not seasonal in South Africa nor should it be.
Our other wonderful South African friends Russel and Demi, also joined us to celebrate. It was a perfect first stop before Mont Rochelle!
It was a crisp winter morning and the drive into Mont Rochelle was stunning. I suspect in the summertime when the leaves have grown back on the trees it would be just darling.
We sat on the terrace and enjoyed the mountain views and greenery. Patrons played croquet and bocci ball on the front lawns, while guests leisurely milled about sipping their wine. The vibe there was relaxed and unpretentious considering it is Sir Richard Branson’s wine farm. One would think with a “sir” in front of your name might imply a formality, but it was the opposite. It was very homey, and welcoming, and situated perfectly.
Our tasting at Mont Rochelle was complimentary as we were staying there but a tasting there can range between 70-100 Rand. We opted for the whole shebang which included 8 wines and added a couple cheese boards to level us out :).
The white wines were crisp, and fresh. The red wines got bolder as the tastings went on. My young palette is still working it’s way to rich bold wines so I slowed my roll towards the end, but they were all lovely. More importantly, the company was even better.
After a long day of drinking wine out in the winter African sun, we bid our friends goodbye and drove the 2 minute drive to the hotel part of Mont Rochelle.
We arrived to a warm and colorful lobby, decorated with contemporary art, African objects and a cozy fireplace. Another glass of complimentary wine was presented. A lovely sunset was forming. However, after an entire day of wine tasting, the only thing I appreciate is my bed. Again, THIS IS 34.
Needless to say, we had a hard time enjoying the lovely experience of Mont Rochelle that evening which we had to laugh at ourselves for. Getting old is pretty hilarious at times.
We were sat near a fireplace for dinner, and the food I know was scrumptious and perfectly presented. But all I could think of is that big bed waiting for us.
The next morning, we woke refreshed and with a pep in our step (see, this is why going to bed early is great!). We got ready and headed down to breakfast. It was freezing outside but HOLY COW the view was worth it.
After breakfast, which consisted of choosing whatever we wanted off their menus and was included in the stay, we decided to stroll the grounds and explore.
We discovered the pool which felt like death to me since I was already freezing, but we kept repeating over and over again how this place would be so amazing in the SUMMERTIME. This is the thing with winter getaways: if you go somewhere that’s summer friendly, they get you hooked and you’re like ugh now I have to come back here.
Laying out after drinking some wine and taking in these views sounds like paradise to me. Just add some flat whites and cake and leave me be. Forever.
One last flat white before we took off to our next stop on our road trip, Safari at Sanbona. Overall, staying at Mont Rochelle is absolutely worth it…but I highly recommend two things:
Visit during summer. And if you’re over 34, go easy on the tasting. ;)