My three greatest food indulges are chocolate, coffee and red wine. The quality makes all the difference. Luckily South Africa is passionate about all these three so exploring has been easy and satisfying. Wine is such an fascinating topic, I'd happily do an entire masters degree of wines. In South Africa, I have mostly done practical research. ;) I've found pinotage, a red wine grape, South Africa's signature variety. It typically includes earthy and smoky flavours, and has often been a safe choice with dinner. My favourite red wines here so far are Rust En Vrede's.
We spent few days touring the wine estates with Satu. Lunch at Long Table restaurant at Haskell wine estate was delicious and peaceful, next to endless vineyards. For few moments, I could swear that Woody Allen was lunching next to us... Our favourite wine estate however was Ernie Els, with its stunning views, beautiful airy architecture, white wines, lunch burgers and simply great vibes. We also visited Hidden Valley - scenic but the estate was too modern for our taste. We also visited Delaire Graff - beyond beautiful and worth a visit. I'd happily dine at Indochine, their Asian inspired restaurant, but the main restaurant did not seem cozy at all. I've visited Tokara couple of times - beautiful but nothing too special.
In Cape Town we did a wine tour in Constantia on our tourist day (driving around the city with the hop on hop off bus :D ). I was positively surprised - I did not have too high expectations as Stellenbosch does take the title of best wine estates. We only had time to have lunch at Constantia Groot and visit Constantia Beau. Both were beautiful - Groot is bigger and thus slightly touristy, but cozy and the restaurant was idyllic as well. Beau's tasting room and restaurant is on a hill. Go for sushi or enjoy wine at the terrace overlooking the valley of Constantia.
In conclusion, my recommendations for wine estates in Stellenbosch:
Rust En Vrede: great wines, scenic and classy and beautiful architecture, good steak lunch and lovely outdoor restaurant
Ernie Els: great wines, lunch and stunning views, beautiful architecture
Delaire Graff: luxurious, beautiful and well maintained surroundings, views over Stellenbosch all the way to Cape Town
Constantia Beau and Groot in Cape Town
Vergelegen in Somerset West: prestigious, beautiful surroundings and historic atmosphere