This blog is slowly turning into a relationship diary and I apologise. Fave Human is just really on top of his game right now and I have to hand it to him, he’s not slowing down. On our last visit, which was mostly to celebrate the beautiful union of two of our friends, I woke up feeling ALL the effects of the night before’s copious amount of bubbly. I have to thank the universe because I honestly felt better than I deserved. Anyway, I was awoken and force fed a mean meal of pap, greasy meat and fizz to cure my ailment. I thought that I was going to get to nap and cuddle the rest of the morning, but alas, Fave Human had other ideas.
After a begrudgingly taken shower and donning a pair of sunnies, Fave Human took me to a little gem just down the road from his – for wine tasting! I know, the resident wine snobs who are spoilt for choice in the Western Cape are rolling their eyes because who goes wine tasting in Gauteng right?
One thing about loving a thoughtful person is that he does cute little things like google “wine tastings near me” for his favourite wine lover. On arrival, one is taken in by the quaintness and unassuming presentation of the venue. It’s small, but green and without all the fancy fixins of older sprawling estates one gets accustomed to in the Cape, but enough charm to make you never want to leave. You have the option of having your tasting inside or outside. We were shown to a bench on the lawn under an umbrella – thank goodness because at this point, I was still suuuuper fragile.
The winery is called Gerakaris Family Wines and the small venue doubles up as both winery and tasting room. The rustic winery is situated in Craighall Park and packs a mean little punch in terms of wine quality. It was founded in 2008 by New Zealander, Kath Gerakaris – we Stan a woman winemaker! She brings her grapes from the Cape winelands, Swartland to be specific, and works her magic onsite. I unfortunately never got to meet her but her story was shared by the competent Charmaine. (It could be spelt with an S, but I can’t remember).
So, I’m a red wine girl with the exception of bubbles and a good chenin blanc – the drier the better. I was excited to try the Ellaki chenin. I think the most beautiful part of this story is that Kath named her wines after her children and Ellaki is named after her first born – Elli. I was sad that I didn’t enjoy this one – I found the end notes a tad bitter. But I was comforted by the detailed story that Kath tells about her babies. Each wine comes with a timeline from the date the grapes were picked to the exact farm they were picked from, right down to the kind of soil they were planted in. It makes for an intimate experience.
Next, we tasted the 2015 Tom Syrah and your girl was in wine nirvana. Tom was aged in French oak barrels and you get that distinct woody/smokey flavour together with the slight spice that characterises a syrah. Only 1800 bottles of Tom were produced. Tom is relatively easy drinking for a syrah. And as I hmmm-d, Charmaine kept telling me to hang in there for the “big guy” – Thomas, also named after Kath’s son.
She was not wrong.
Tom, the 2016 red blend was what you’d expect from a blend that’s been crafted with love, and is EASILY my favourite wine from Gerakaris. If I recall correctly, (because at this point, I was more wine than human), Tom is mostly syrah and cinsaut. Either way, it was so good, I had to have two glasses because if a little is good, more must be better. And better it was.
So, this is the “Big Guy” Charmaine was talking about. She totally set him up to impress and impress, he did. Definitely worth the hype. If you enjoy big bodied wines, Thomas is the syrah you want to take home. Big personality and a slow drinking for full effect.
The Friday before we visited the winery, they released Elli – a 2017 chenin blanc which is incredible. So incredible that there was none available to taste (slightly brokenhearted). Perhaps I’ll go back to my new favourite neighbourhood winery for a bottle. If you’re looking for a chilled place to drink wine one afternoon in Johannesburg, visit Gerakaris. And ask for Charmaine.
The Empress xx
*The Gerakaris winery is located at 20 Marlborough Avenue, Craighall Park. (Park at Colourful Splendour Garden Nursery and walk in.) A tasting is R45 pp.
*While there is no food served at the winery, there is a restaurant right next to it called Delta Café – family friendly and dog friendly.
*The winery is open Wednesday through Friday from 12:00 to 5:00 p.m.
Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Sunday from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.