Bushman Rock Estate is the ideal getaway for those hoping to spend the night or an afternoon of activities with a wide selection of options ranging from wine tours, horse rides, canoeing to cave exploring. My group of friend decided to opt for the “Wine Tasting Lunch “which was a unique opportunity to explore Zimbabwean wine making as an art.
The stylish birthday theme for this year was , “Safari Chic” and we kicked off our day with a summer drive to Bushman Rock welcomed by the clear skies and green woodlands. The greenery and picturesque setting make the Estate a true gem in the Zimbabwean outback.
Upon arrival , we were met with special lemonade as we walked onto the sprawling green gardens overlooking the surrounding vegetation. The breath-taking Estate is run by Jono Passaportis and his team. The friendly Jono welcomed us and lead the guided tour of the vineyard and winery.
We strolled through the majestic vineyard surrounded by the vines, valley greenery and granite hills. Jono explained the history of wine making at the Estate but also emphasized the technicalities of producing a Zimbabwean wine in what would be consider unfavourable “traditional” wine making conditions. The vines are strategically planted to accommodate the Zimbabwean seasons to ensure the vines don’t stand in water for too long. The diverse weather conditions and Zimbabwean seasons means that Zimbabwean wine has a unique taste. It is quite common to find guests comparing Zimbabwean and South African wine; however both countries have differences in their climate and soils. Taking this into account; the Estate has been dedicated to perfecting this unique Zimbabwean quality wine (something which Jono expresses with much excitement and passion ). This perfection and drive to creating unique quality wines that are Zimbabwean produced is certainly the kind of story that deserves to be told and celebrated.
After the beautiful vineyard tour under the clear Zimbabwean skies (rare for December and not good for our crop farming but good for wine making). Jono guided us through the winery and magical cellar where the house wines and juices are made and stored. Followed by the tasting of the wines and juices which was certainly informative and quite a boozy special affair with friends. From woody flavours to fresh fruit flavours there certainly is a variety of wine available (although I cannot wait for a purely Zimbabwean Sauvignon blanc).
Selection of Bushman Rock Wines
We tasted just over 8 wines with my favourite being Semillon and Charlevale. Semillon which is Bushman Rock’s first varietal Semillon that is a mix of 2 and 3 year old French Oak barriques. A lovely melon fruit with a light oak lift comes through on the nose. The complex palate shows the melon with additional gooseberry and cucumber characters which are all enhanced by the light oak. Similarly but with some flavour variations, the Charlevale is a blend of the classic white Bordeaux grape varieties, Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc and Muscadelle fermented in 3 and 4 year old French oak barriques. The nose shows a cut-grass character and light oak which is also evident on the palate.
After a fun and educational wine tasting, we were transported back to the Estate’s garden where our table stood elegantly
under the green trees and on the lush grass. The beautifully set table with personalised elements was a stunning setting for an outdoor lunch celebration. The delicious starters of Tzatziki and Chicken liver were the start of our afternoon of fine cuisine. Followed by the mains of Steak (with pepper sauce), Roast chicken, potatoes, veg and salad. The steak was definitely the highlight – soft, succulent and cooked to perfection. The lunch then ended with birthday toasts and dessert of meringue, brownies and ice cream. After such a hearty meal, we simply rested as the sun rays beamed across the African skies and lowered itself slightly in time for a sundowner safari drive.
As we drove around the Estate, we were completed surrounded by the valley, greenery, polo fields and vineyards. Being on a safari and in the Zimbabwean outback is what makes travel so fantastic in this country, so breath-takingly so. I am at peace and the happiest when surrounded by the magical views of the Zimbabwean outdoors.
The Safari drive primarily included wildlife herbivores/grazers ranging from giraffes, Zebras and ostriches. For the first time, we encountered a herd of buffalo which surprisingly are very attentive but not for one second did I forget how incredibly powerful and dangerous they are. The beautiful sunset drive and sundowners was a relaxing way to end the summer day.
After a picturesque drive, we returned to the gardens for our final drinks to watch the sun set. As the Zimbabwean sun bid us farewell, we drove off thankful to the team at Bushman Rock for a memorable birthday celebration. Thank you to Jono and his team for a wonderful day at one of Zimbabwe’s most intimate and exclusive estates where only 12 weddings a year take place. Most of all thank you to my special family and friends who celebrated with me. Bushman Rock Estate is fantastic for a weekend away, corporate functions or an afternoon of activities or an amazing birthday. I look forward to 2016 and to more intimate functions especially the Polo which i’ll be waiting for my invite to! Most of all folks remember to #VisitZimbabwe.
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