MY PER­FECT DAY IN HEMEL-EN-ARDE

Decanter - - TRAVEL: SOUTH AFRICA -

Morn­ing

Be­fore break­fast is a lovely and quiet time of day to take a stroll along the cliff tops: keep a watch out for whales in the bay – and don‘ t for­get your binoc­u­lars. From the cen­tre of Her­manus to

Hamil­ton Russell Vine­yards is roughly 8km, and it‘s best to set off af­ter rush hour. The Pinot Noir and Chardon­nay that es­tab­lished Hemel-en-Aarde’s rep­u­ta­tion are a good launch­ing pad for the day. Also ex­cel­lent are the es­tate’s pep­pery ex­tra vir­gin olive oil and fyn­bos honey. A few bends fur­ther up the val­ley finds La Vierge (www.lavierge.co. za), where Ger­hard Smith, with sev­eral years’ ex­pe­ri­ence in New Zealand’s Wairarapa re­gion, brings Pinot ex­per­tise to the four ver­sions he pro­duces. These can be en­joyed on the ve­ran­dah with spec­tac­u­lar views of the nearby moun­tains and sea.

Lunch

Se­lect­ing from the wine and food ‘ Kiss & Tell’ pair­ings at Cre­ation is not easy, but what­ever your choice, en­joy it at a leisurely pace. It fea­tures Pinot Noir and Chardon­nay with match­ing dishes, the weekly chang­ing three-course menu introducing other wines from the range. There’s a chil­dren’s menu too.

Af­ter­noon

Be­fore wend­ing your way slowly down the val­ley, stop to taste Kevin Grant’s

Ataraxia Wines in his eye-catch­ing Wine Lounge: an art-filled chapel built in keep­ing with the vernacular Over­berg style. Drink in a last glimpse of the val­ley as sun and ocean meet from the deck at New­ton John­son, glass of wine in hand (6-9pm, Novem­ber to Fe­bru­ary).

evening

Cen­trally lo­cated Fish­er­man’s Cottage (www.fish­er­manscot­tage.co.za) is a his­tor­i­cal build­ing dat­ing to the late 1800s. The am­bi­ence of the old Her­manus is com­ple­mented by lo­cally sourced seafood (meat and ve­gan op­tions avail­able) and a wide choice of lo­cal wines. The re­cently opened One Marine Drive Bou­tique Ho­tel (www.1md.co.za) is a short stroll away. All rooms have a homely touch, with mod­ern ameni­ties and close-up views over Walker Bay.

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