Two-week ago I had the pleasure of visiting my favourite wine region for a whole week-end. I hadn’t been in a while and it was so lovely to immerse myself in two full days of activities around the Robertson SLOW Festival.
Robertson hosts four popular wine events during the year, but the most foodie of them all and the one that has always appealed to me is SLOW. Apart from the Family Market on the Sunday, all the events take place across the small towns that make up the Robertson Wine Valley including, Ashton, Bonnievale, McGregor and Robertson. They take place at specific wine farms and guest houses and I can highly recommend that you look at the 2018 schedule as soon as it’s out. The event takes place between 3 – 5 August 2018, so plan accordingly. Totally unique dinners are curated with various wines from the valley so you can expect something really special.
My itinerary included a night at the gorgeous five-star Jan Harmsgat Country House with a five-course dinner in their historic cellar. We dined at one long table with people we had never met, and at the end of the evening we hugged our new friend’s good-bye. That is what it’s like a SLOW. Strangers brought together around a convivial table to break bread and experience the wine with the wine maker. It’s pretty special. The menu was really refined considering their chef has had no formal training and it was a highlight of the week-end.
On Saturday we had a lovely breakfast at Jan Harmsgat before heading out to Viljoensdrift Fine Wines and River Cruises to take the river cruise on the Breede. It was a sunny day and very picturesque. You can stock up on picnic items at their deli and either enjoy them on the banks of the river with a bottle (or two) of their wines or take them on the boat. This is a great option if you feel like something a little more casual or need to feed a few people and children.
We then visited Esona Boutique Wines for the first time and thoroughly enjoyed their pre booked a vertical tasting in Riedel glasses paired with chocolate and local preserves. Lunch, which was a generous platter on their deck, followed.
With a couple of hours to spare in the late afternoon, we met up with a friend and popped past Zandvliet for a tasting before driving to Montagu to check into the Mimosa Lodge. Located in the heart of this very beautiful R62 town, the Mimosa is a wonderful and centrally located place to stay. The main building is a 150 year old National Monument and the staff are the friendliest you could ever imagine, making you feel right at home. They also produce a range of stunning wines which I had tasted on the last day of the Forgotten Route trip recently. If you can get your hands on their MCC it’s highly recommended.
We had a quick rest before heading to Mo and Rose in the Klaasvoogds area for their special 6-course dinner with Klue Wines. It was a pity to have arrived in the dark and not properly seen their very impressive succulent garden. The property also houses a wine bistro and a lovely looking guest house with very affordable pricing. It was my first encounter with Klue wines made on the family run estate Wolvendrift and we were very impressed.
Our Sunday involved a lovely breakfast at Mimosa Lodge then a visit to the Family Market which was in full swing and very festive. You could taste a few more of the wines from the Valley in case you missed anything on the week-end, which of course you would have. There are 42 members of the Robertson Wine Valley, so you would need a good few week ends to get to them all.
PS ~* FOODIE FIND ALERT* If you have ever tasted the award-winning Royal Ashton cheese at Woolworths you will be pleased to know that this incredible cheese comes from La Mont Speciality Cheeses on La Montanara Farm on the R60 between Robertson and Swellendam. They have a lovely cheese shop and small deli – as well as a restaurant that specialises in pizzas. The views over the mountains and their green pastures are very pleasing indeed. You feel like you could possibly be in France. The cheese prices are incredible so it’s well worth making a detour to this spot.
*Disclaimer – I was invited as a guest of Robertson Slow
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