From the Food Recipe Revolution team – review

From the Food Recipe Revolution team – review

Getting out of bed early on a Sunday morning is not the norm for us, but we rose with the sparrows to be taken on another wonderful Mystery Tour of the winelands with Ann-Marie Breen from Taste the Cape.  Ann-Marie had promised a busy day packed with new and exciting treats, and did she deliver on her word.  â€¨â€¨On the perfect summer’s day we drove towards Stellenbosch to an area of the wine route I hadn’t been to, but heard about.  Ann-Marie has this wonderful knack of finding places that are new (to clients) and offer amazing experiences, and that is no easy feat considering the multitude of farms that exist today. You really start to appreciate the beauty of the Western Cape when you travel through vineyards with spectacular mountains and eagles looking over you.  We made our way past Ernie Els’ wines and as we turned a corner, an architechtural wonder emerged that is Hidden Valley.  The panoramic view from the patio is breathtaking, and after a few photos we settled into our first tasting of the day.  This beautiful setting is home to multi-awarded restaurant Overture, which we had heard about, so we were expecting a similar quality to their wines.  They have two labels, Hidden Valley Wines and the Land’s End range which sources grapes from their Elim vineyards.

Within a few minutes drive was our second tasting, Bilton another virgin experience for us.  This farm is equally beautiful with a very different perspective of the valley.  The setting is perfect for a day out with a picnic basket with a Vineyard Walk on the menu, and for less energetic visitors they have a selection of antique cars for hire.  We, however, were there for a chocolate and wine pairing.  Our server, Bubbles, delivered the framed tasting boards with a selection of chocolates and tastings.  The bite size chocolates ranged from a fruit infused white to a chilli and licorice dark chocolate and they were accompanied with a Sauvignon Blanc through a Merlot, Pinotage, Cabernet Sauvignon and ending with Sir Percy.  Bubbles was well informed and he ensured us that Sir Percy was of historical importance to the farm, and not an ex Springbok rugby player.  Bilton  is wonderfully relaxed and I would love to return there and spend more time at their lake, sipping on their beautiful wines.

Our next stop was “Estate to the Celebrity Wedding” –  Zorgvliet.  This child-friendly estate has everything from accomodation, a spa, conferencing facilities and of course cellar tours and tastings.  We were very grateful that the tasting room is seperate from the family picnic area, as the setting in the tree-shade commanded a more quiet mood.  We were expertly guided through most of their vast offerings, from their Cap Classique through to the flagship Bordeaux blend Richelle.  Our taste buds had started concurring and for the most part Zorgvliet offers very well made wines for everybody’s palate.

Ann Marie steered us towards Franschhoek to a tiny boutique wine farm which turned out to be a highlight of the day, Maison.  Nestled across the way from La Motte, we met up with Guy Kedian and local mascot Biscuit who both lavished amazing personal attention upon us.  The tasting room is furnished stunningly with pieces courtesy of owner Chris Weylandt – the luxury furniture family.  Our ample samples of their two main wines, the Chenin Blanc and Shiraz were paired with a tasting of cheese and biltong.  The patience and love in the wine making is evident in the tasting and Guy was an incredible ambassador for the farm, excitedly telling us of their upcoming bubbly and taking us to the vineyards to witness how small this farm is.  With ideas of the little farm that could, we encountered a second mascot, a very large pot belly pig who was not as friendly as the other Maison residents.

Our very full day continued on to yet another farm with a spectacular view Vrede en Lust.  After initial confusion about our tasting/pairing, we sat down with a generous cheese, fruit, bread and preserve board.  The staff were preparing for a special Valentine’s week and were red carpet ready in long flowing dresses and handled the tasting very professionally, explaining the reasons for pairings.  The abundance of food was welcome, considering this was tasting number five.  We thoroughly enjoyed this stop. and and commend the staff for their efficiency and friendliness.  With the temperature soaring, we were a tad jealous of the diners in the restaurant being cooled by a wall of fine mist.

The greeting at the Noble Hill Estate parking area is “Hello” which sets the trend for the atmosphere of the farm.  It is casual and friendly.  We were certainly spoiled for settings on this Sunday, as we sat at Cosecha – the Latin themed restaurant on the farm.  A cooling breeze was welcomed as we sampled their small but excellent range of wines.  It was at this stage that we decided to share a chicken taco to soak up all the previous tasting.  It was delicious even if the accompanying chilli had extra heat.  As we left, we were wished “GOOD BYE” by a sign at the exit of the parking lot, and that courtesy ensured that we will return soon.

We have to congratulate Ann Marie of Taste the Cape for putting a perfect day together, and as we drove home we were wondering how we could get through every exciting, amazing experience the winelands has to offer.  Even if we don’t experience everything, we are grateful for the wonderful memories so far.

From the Food Recipe Revolution team