With all the uncertainty in the world at the moment, the one thing you can be sure of is the warmest welcome when visiting the Cape Winelands. We were blessed to spend a week in Stellenbosch and Elgin where we could put our worries aside and indulge in some of the best food and wine and get to know some of the most remarkable people.
For two nights we settled into the beauty that is Elgin Vintners. A peaceful hour-long drive from Cape Town, took us into the heart of the Elgin Valley, nestled between vineyards and apple and pear orchards. We took some time to get acquainted with our exquisite accommodation, The Syfret Luxury Suite, and poured two glasses of Belle Amie Merlot Blanc de Noir which is as its name suggests – beautiful.
Dating back to 1890, the farm is a truly nostalgic setting and a stroll through the gardens allows you to stop and reflect with the Kogelberg, Hottentots Holland mountains and the stately Country House surrounding you.
Elgin Vintners has just unveiled their brand-new tasting room and we were blessed to experience this new space with a private tasting with fabulous winemaker Marinda Kruger-Claassen. The afternoon was an absolute joy and just what a tasting should be – sampling glass after glass of Elgin Vintners’ finest. The tasting was made even more special when Marinda revealed that her Pinot Noir 2019 had just been awarded one of the Mosaic Top 5 Best of Pinot Noirs. A special achievement that is certainly worth drinking to.
As the day grew long, we stole away with another bottle of Pinot to further enjoy our suite and a leisurely soak in the most gorgeous bathtub. The next day was spent sipping on more delicious wines and taking in every moment of country splendour. We left with the words etched in the sundial in our hearts and our minds – “Don’t waste time as this is what life itself is made of”.
With our next stop we said Sawubona to Pia and Paul at Kunjani Wines. The loveliest and most genuine couple. We arrived on a wet and windy day and were quickly warmed by the fire and the warm hearts of everyone at Kunjani. Everything about the farm has real character, from the restaurant and tasting room’s contemporary design to the charm of the Kunjani Villas.
Shiraz was our home for our stay. Comfortable, contemporary and filled with boutique style. The next morning was filled with great food, wines and heart-warming stories as we chatted to the lovely Pia. Chef Lamek Mnisi prepared the most delicious Eggs Royale – poached eggs, salmon and hollandaise sauce on sourdough. Breakfast was followed by a wine tasting because at Kunjani it’s never too early for wine.
Our favourite is most definitely the Stolen Chicken Rosé 2020. Aromas of strawberry, candyfloss and cranberry with clean and fruit-forward notes – A celebration of Pia and Paul’s son James’ life with the ever-present Penelope and Knightrider.
The evening was spent chatting further around the fire with Pia, Paul, their wonderful manager Carmen and a few other guests. Many laughs and stories were shared until the early hours. We arrived at Kunjani as strangers and left feeling a real part of this incredible family. We can’t wait to return to create more memories and sip on some more wonderful wines.
Our final stop before leaving Stellenbosch was Blaauwklippen, one of the region’s oldest wine farms. Blaauwklippen is where history and tradition meet in the most exquisite fashion. We entered the stately farm buildings for a sensory journey like no other. The evening began with a classic wine tasting. We were expertly guided through six of Blaauwklippen’s very best. Starting with some bubbly – Methode Cap Classique, we then moved onto the 2020 Sauvignon Blanc, 2018 Zinfandel White and Red, 2019 Malbec and finally the 2017 De Blaauwe Klip.
We then moved onto a unique gin and nougat pairing with Blaauwklippen’s trio of craft gins. Garden Gin with Lemon & Thyme Nougat, Farm Gin with Spicy Fig, Pecan Nut & Red Peppercorn Nougat and Zin Gin with Berry & Cherry Nougat. This pairing is a special experience any gin enthusiast would love.Accompanied by a bottle of De Blaauwe Klip, one of our favourites from the tasting, we were escorted to the farm-to-table elegance of Hamm & Uys. Our host for dinner was Marius Uys – one half of the dynamic duo of TV chefs and creative caterers. We sat down in the beautiful space to an elegant tasting menu which is the epitome of Johnny and Marius’s fun and creative flair and global inspiration. It’s the nostalgia of your mom’s cooking, re-invented for the modern palate.
Our tasting journey began with a selection of starters – Ocean Trout Fish Pie, Cape Vegetable Chiffonade, West Coast Mussels and Wood Oven Roasted Bone Marrow. Each a modern and delicious spin on familiar Cape dishes.
Denningvleis – clove and all spice sous vide neck of lamb and Seared Karoo Springbok – granny smith apple, juniper smoked mash and whipped burnt butter were the most succulent mains duo. Our final indulgence was a dessert which speaks to the heart of every South African – Suzette-Sister, freshly made citrus Crêpes Suzette and Blaauwklippen Potstill Brandy koeksister, served hot with coconut bubbles, roasted coconut and Fior di latte gelato.
The Blaauwklippen experience can only be described as bliss. Our foodie hearts were bursting with appreciation as we fell more in love with every bite.As we made our final journey back to the airport, we couldn’t help but reminisce about the special experiences we had and the wonderful people we met and can now call friends. This was a week of making memories we will treasure for a very long time.