Franschhoek Wine Route – Follow the Footsteps of the Huguenots
The Franschhoek Wine Route allows visitors to follow the footsteps of the French immigrants and their still noticeable influence on the Winelands. The South African Franschhoek is well-known for its high-quality wines and only 60km away from Cape Town. Franschhoek means ‘corner of the French’ or ‘French corner’. Over 300 years ago, French Huguenots fled from their home country to South Africa and settled in the land that is now called Franschhoek Valley. The first settlement was founded by them in 1688. They brought their expertise about wine cultivation and development and did what they can do best: produce excellent wine. Until today, their descendants create excellent bottles, amongst them outstanding sparkling wines which entice gourmets worldwide.
On the Franschhoek Wine Route, gourmets can find more than 30 wineries, amongst them the most respectable names of the South African wine industry. Many of the wineries are still carrying their French names and you literally feel like you would be in the Provence. Here, culinary delights and a way of life typical only for the French come together. And all that paired with South African hospitality! This makes the Franschhoek Wine Route an excellent choice if you look for original South African wine. All traditional wines are cultivated: white wines such as Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay and red wines such as Shiraz, Pinotage and Cabernet Sauvignon. Many of the wines have numerously been awarded at significant, international wine competitions.
The Wineries of the Franschhoek Wine Route
21 wineries have teamed up for the ‘Vignerons De Franschhoek Valley’ and form the Franschhoek Wine Route. Estates such as Allée Bleue, Vrede en Lust, Solms Delta, Graham Beck, Boschendal, Anthonij Rupert, Boekenhoutskloof, Grande Provence, La Motte, Maison, Haute Cabrière and Cape Chamonix are part of it.
The winery La Motte, founded in 1695, offers an excellent cuisine in the beautiful restaurant Pierneef à La Motte besides numerous historic buildings and outstanding wine tastings. The wines receive their unique character through the special soils of the winery.
Boschendal, founded by Huguenots over 300 years ago, has been one of the largest and noblest estates in the country to the present day and covers more than 400ha. The winery is also known for its innovations since the first Pinot Noir from the Cape was produced here in 1978. Internationally outstanding wines from Boschendal are the Merlot, the Pinot Noir, the Chardonnay, the Sauvignon Blanc, the Gewürztraminer and the Boschendal Brut.
Chamonix is located at the eastern mountain slopes in the fertile Franschhoek Valley. Besides excellent wine, the estate bottles outstanding and natural spring water from a close-by spring and grows fruits for export. The wine tastings take place in a converted forge. In the on-site restaurant Racine, guests can treat themselves to the fullest with exquisite dishes and excellent wines.
The winemaker Achim von Arnim manages the winery Haute Cabriére in his unconvential way and is very successful doing so. He creates outstanding sparkling wine according to the principle of bottle maturation. One of the main attractions is for sure the exquisite restaurant which allows an unrestricted view of the wine cellar embedded into the mountain.
Allée Bleue is one of the oldest wineries of this region but manages to unite traditions with innovation in an incomparable manner and is well-known for its excellent premium wines with that certain something. Something which is difficult to describe – you simply have to try the wines! The estate is situated at the slopes of the impressive Drakenstein Mountain in the Franschhoek Valley.
A winery which is also located at the Franschhoek Wine Route is Solms Delta – it stands for ‘being different’ in a wine region which already has a different mentality. Besides the owners, the employees also have a say because a part of the winery belongs to them. Solms Delta often strays off the beaten paths and, for example, uses old Greek production methods as well as unknown grape varieties in order to create unusual but always noble wines.
Maison is one of the youngest wineries in South Africa and gives its wines a class of their own. On the one hand, the wines feature a high complexity and on the other, the easy accessibility makes every gourmet fully happy.
Grande Provence can look back on a long history and has been producing excellent red, white and sparkling wines since its founding in 1694. The ‘flagship wine’ The Grande Provence is known worldwide and is highly sought-after due to its choice quality. If you can get your hands on some bottles, you should definitely do that!
The location of Vrede en Lust at the slopes of the Simonsberg Mountain creates ideal conditions for wine cultivation. The nutritious soils and the ideal climate ensure the production of top wines. Just as the name suggests, the wines are created with much passion here on this estate. A passion which is mirrored in the cordial atmosphere at Vrede en Lust.
If you cannot wait until the next trip to South Africa, here you can find wines from the Franschhoek Wine Route!
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