Groot Constantia Wine Estate

20160329_134742.jpgA little history never hurt with a glass of wine, and a view!  Groot Constantia wine estate stretches into a stunning backdrop of mountians.  South Africa’s oldest vineyard offers award winning wines, for over 33o years, produced here on the wine farm which includes a museum and offers cellar tours.  To get there you can drive, hop on a bus tour, or take a helicopter.
20160329_132245.jpg20160329_131400.jpg2016-05-17-05.58.26.jpg.jpgThe day was overcast, but patches of blue sky peeking out from behind billowing clouds gave me optimism, as I had noticed the Cape weather to be less than committal.  I jumped on a bus heading out from Victoria and Alfred Waterfront to visit one of South Africa’s renowned wine farms.  A quick ride up the mountain and into lush forest suddenly opened up into serene landscape of rolling vineyards and we were dropped off.  You are free to stroll the property and wander the vineyards, just be aware to keep an eye out for baboons!  The beauty of the South African landscape was not something I got used to, although being taken aback by it was.  Even cast under clouds on a grey day the stunning beauty is as vivid as the tranquility is penetrating.  Joining a cellar tour and wine tasting is the perfect amount of interesting and delicious for a vacation activity.

From gray and cloudy to rainbows and blue skies, you never know what the day holds when the clouds blow over.






Girls Just Wanna Have Fun

And by fun, I mean drink a lot of wine.

To celebrate National Wine Day I bundled up and braved the cold with a brisk walk to BTL Harlem, one of my favorite wine boutiques to wander into and find something I’ve never had, that I never knew I needed, but now I have to have.  What I found was one of the most interesting white wines I have yet to encounter.  A Pecorino.  That’s right, like the cheese.

Well I never!

Well then I simply must!

Legend has it, that this long forgotten grape was rediscovered growing in a ravine and has made a comeback after feared extinction.  That is reason enough to spur my excitement.  It is an Italian white wine and this one by Terra Mea has at-ti-tude.  Funky like James Brown, right of the bat I got smacked with a whiff of tobacco and liquorice, followed by a burst of almost over-ripe kiwi and elegant lemon-citrus in my mouth that practically jumped out of the glass and danced on my tongue.  She’s not a wallflower white wine, and with such a fascinating personality I want her at my dinner party.



If I’m tasting at home I like to have a few snacks to experiment with how my palate is affected by fat, acid, citrus, salt, and sugar.  Bread and water are for wiping the chalk board clean in between sips and keeping sober enough to remember the wine itself.

I’ll be on the lookout for more Pecorino to compare and add to this post!  For a comprehensive background on Pecorino wine see Fringe Wine

thanks for visiting!

xoxo, margotjowino



Why Freiburg? Wine Not!

Freiburg im Breisgau is a quintessential European vacation.  Located in the wine growing region of Baden, an area noted for it’s cuisine, Freiburg is Germany’s warmest city.  Founded in 1120, this centuries old university town has been architecturally restored to its picturesque medieval state.  Known for sunshine, the Black Forest, and Albert Ludwig University; a visit to quaint, quiet Freiburg with it’s temperate climate and proximity to more than 300 wineries is a perfect opportunity to experience old Europe and enjoy a wine lesson while you’re at it.




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Waking up in Freiburg for a day of exploring?  Prepare to be enchanted because this city of sunshine has a once upon a time feel.  Start with der Munstermarkt a two-centuries-old market in the plaza near the 800 year old cathedral, one of the earliest examples of Gothic architecture.  From there the sights unfold as you wander but watch out for the bachle, or brooklets – these are small canals of water from the Dreisam river, which run throughout the village.  Once a source of fresh water for animals, the legend is that one who steps in it is destined to marry a Freiburger.  Adding to the fairytale ambiance you will notice how quiet it is, perhaps because there are limitations on car use, making it very pedestrian friendly.

German beer and sausage and pretzels, have stolen the spotlight from the many culinary experiences that await a visitor.  As there are over 1,000 breweries and 1,500 varieties of sausages one can certainly understand the hype.  But credited for locally sourced sustainable ingredients Badisch cuisine goes far beyond, and oh, the wine!  Until the twentieth century there were only two great wine producing countries, France, and Germany.  Baden, it has been said, is the Burgandy paradise of Germany.

The Baden wine region is not concentrated, but consists of several land parcels spread out including; central Germany near Wurzburg, on Lake Constance (the Bodensee) near Switzerland, and parallel to the Rhine from Heidelberg all the way south to Basel. To the west is the Black Forest and beyond that France’s Alsace region.  The most famous vineyards today were planted and cultivated by monks in the Middle Ages.

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In the land of beer, everywhere I went I had wine.  And it was fabulous.  The brightest most brilliant roses, sharp and crisp the clarity of the flavor meets the beauty of color for a sensational palate explosion.  German white wines are known for being delicate and pure, and having a quality of transparency or nakedness, meaning the true qualities of the grape are showcased.  The lesser famed red wines produced in Germany will take you out of your comfort zone, in a good way.  Wine can be confusing and German wine can be extra confusing like there are thirteen wine regions, 1,400 wine villages, and 2,600-plus vineyards.  How do you choose?  Below I have attempted to simplify.

The Grapes of Germany.  There are eighteen, I am only going to touch upon Baden wines, (for the purpose of this article.  However if your thirst for knowledge isn’t quenched there are links at the end for further reading and, of course, drinking pleasure).

  • Weissburgunder – pinot blanc
  • Rulander (Graoburgunder) – pinot gris / pinot grigio
  • Riesling – the favorite grape of Germany and perhaps the most widely associated with German wine is planted on all the best sites, however very little is grown in Baden
  • Muller-Thurgau – the leading grape in Baden, an everyday drinking wine
  • Gutedel – makes simple wines, same grape as chasselas from Switzerland
  • Silvaner – dependably good but typically not great wine, same as sylvaner grape from Alsace, France
  • Gewurztraminer – often described as full of floral and fruit
  • Spatburgunder – pinot noir

* all wines in the list above are white except for the last one

Three basic styles of German wine are

  1. Trocken – dry
  2. Halbtroken – medium-dry
  3. Fruity – semidry to very sweet

And the two main categories of German wine are

  1. Tafelwein literally translation is table wine, this is the lowest designation
  2. Qualitatswein meaning quality wine which in itself includes the two subcategories of: QbA (Qualitatswein bestimmeter Anbaugebiete) indicates a quality wine from one of the thirteen specified regions, and Pradikatswein which is the best.

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And now you know why.

xoxo, margotjo

Thirsty?  I am a wine enthousiast, like, Hell Yes I Would LOVE A Glass!”  and in learning more about this tasty beverage I like to consult The Wine Bible and also I have been reading Windows On the World

Hungry?  The Grounded Traveler sums it up perfectly for where to eat in Freiburg

Interested?  get to know more about Freiburg

Want to visit?  The Black Forest is a popular vacation destination too!