Place Review: Hemel en Aarde Vallei – An Intoxicating Experience

Travelling on the back of an open safari-style vehicle while enjoying exquisite scenery and stopping to sample some of the most superb wines on offer. Sounds like a scene straight out of a rom com, right? Well, in the Hemel en Aarde Vallei (the Valley of Heaven and Earth, when loosely translated) this is no fantasy.

Wine Hoppers
This hop-on-hop-off wine tasting affair featured as part of the FynArts Festival that took place from 10-19 June in and around Hermanus. At R200 a pop I first thought this was a bit steep (you see, we phoned before booking and someone at the FynArts office told hubby that wine tasting was included in the price), but I’ve since changed my mind – this was totally worth it. Especially considering the safety aspect. No drinking and driving.

Decisions, Decisions
Jeffrey, our driver, was friendly and rather knowledgeable – he made great recommendations on which wine farms to visit. In the end we decided on La Vierge, Domains Des Dieux and Creation. For more reasons than one, La Vierge was the most memorable (as Melissa, our friendly sommelier, so accurately predicted).

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La Vierge
We tried six uniquely named wines for a mere R30 per person. First on the list was the Jezebellle Chardonnay. Fruity on the nose with a subtle, yummy taste. The Temptation Rosé was not one of my favourites, but the Anthelia Shiraz turned out to be a wonderful surprise. Apparently, according to ancient legend, “Anthelia” means the ability to see angels on Earth. A beautiful wine. The Nymphomane (yes, that’s the name) is fruity when swirled in the mouth and rather dry when swallowed, while the Satyricon is wooded and smoky.

“Add more wood, and you’ve got the affair!”

Melissa’s clever words, not mine. The Affair Pinot Noir has a strong, spicy smell and a woody taste. Delicious, smooth drinking.
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Domains Des Dieux
Our second stop was at Domains Des Dieux, which according to their wine specialist means “Base of the Gods”. It was heavenly to sit outside soaking up the sun while enjoying the gorgeous view. The wines here were really good too – the sommelier listed four out of seven (that we tasted) as her favourites. I particularly enjoyed the Rose of Sharon with its butterscotch undertones.

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The music was right up my alley – 1920s French tunes had me smiling like a lovesick puppy (the fact that this was my second wine tasting venue for the day may also have contributed to this) as I replayed scenes from one of my favourite Woody Allen films, Midnight in Paris, in my head.

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Creation
At Creation we had not one, but two, friendly sommeliers to take care of us. This was clearly a popular venue, with almost all the tables filled to capacity. In addition to the friendly staff, the tasty meat platter and goat’s milk cream cheese was top-notch. The fireplace created a nice ambiance.

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In Conclusion
Would I recommend the Wine Hoppers service? I would. Do I recommend the Hemel and Aarde Vallei as a must-experience? Absolutely.

I can’t wait to introduce more family and friends to this treasure.

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