MY PERFECT DAY IN HEMEL-EN-ARDE
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.
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.
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).
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.