bloemendal-wine-estate-pairing

My Favourite Cape Winelands Wine Pairings

While I have never claimed to be any kind of wine expert, nor someone who bothers with all the pomp and ceremony surrounding the ‘right’ way to drink wine – I definitely enjoy and appreciate good wine as much as the best wine connoisseur. Over the past few years, I have enjoyed my fair share of excellent, award-winning South African wines. And with them, some incredible Cape Winelands wine pairings.

favourite-cape-winelands-wine-pairings-western-cape

Confession: I love wine pairings. There is something so fun about trying new flavours and/or foods with wine and seeing how it alters or enhances the wine’s flavours and taste on your tongue. And having tried everything from mini bunny chows to chilli chocolate with top South African wine(s), I have definitely sampled some unique wine pairings – now it’s time to share them so you can too!

Support Our Local Wine Farms and Enjoy My Favourite Wine Pairings in One!

warwick-wine-estate-wines
Photo credit: Alicia Chamaillé

As we all know, our local wine and alcohol industries have been devastatingly hard hit during the pandemic. Even when alcohol bans have not been imposed on our local estates, people have, understandably, been cautious to venture out. Most of us try to avoid indoor spaces or anywhere remotely crowded. So naturally, wine tastings (and fun pairings) have not been very high on our lists.

If this has been you, I totally understand and relate to how you feel. Happily though, most of the wine pairings listed below can be enjoyed outside or in well-ventilated areas. This means that you can enjoy these incredible wine pairings safely. (Also, all of these estates naturally have their own COVID-19 protocols and safety measures in place.)

So if you are keen to enjoy some of my favourite Cape Winelands wine pairings, visit beautiful destinations and help our wine industry in one (or more) fun outing, then this post is for you! Let’s drink to that!

Villiera Wines: MCC and Nougat Pairing

favourite-cape-winelands-wine-pairings-villiera

This Stellenbosch estate is one of the most down-to-earth and yet utterly impressive you will encounter anywhere. I love everything about Villiera: from their eco-friendly farming practices to the amazing game drives, award-winning wines and relaxed farm atmosphere.

Although they have a great selection of wine pairings, including chocolate and MCC, it is their MCC and nougat pairing that I will focus on. Even as someone who usually doesn’t enjoy nougat, this pairing blew my mind. (It was also especially refreshing to enjoy after an early morning summertime game drive!)

This pairing feels like good value too. Especially as you get to enjoy four of the estate’s quality sparkling wines paired with delicious nougat.

What it includes:

villiera-wines-bubbly-nougat

It includes four Villiera MCC wines with nougat tastings. These are paired together as follows:

– Grier Brut with the honey nougat and almonds/cranberries

– Villiera Tradition Brut with honey nougat and macadamias

– Monro Brut with honey nougat and almonds

– Tradition Brut Rose with Goji Berry, almond and rooibos tea nougat

rooibos-nougat

Why I enjoyed it:

Because it tastes incredible! It is amazing to see how fittingly the MCC and nougat go together. My personal favourite was definitely the Grier Brut and honey and almond/cranberry nougat option. Although the Monro pairing was a tight second for me!

villiera-tasting-room-stellenbosch

Pricing per person:

R125 per person for four wines and accompanying nougat pairings.

Is advance booking required/recommended?

Yes, booking is essential. Their tasting room is open Monday to Friday: 09:00 am – 17:00 pm and on Saturdays from 09:00 am – 15:00 pm.

Contact information:

+27 (021) 865 2002, wine@villiera.com

Website:

www.villiera.com

Fairview Wine Farm: Wine and Goats’ Cheese Platters

favourite-cape-winelands-wine-pairings-fairview

It has been a few years now since I visited Fairview for some wine and platters – but this Paarl estate has a wonderful array of options to enjoy.

Although you can visit the Tasting Room directly for a unique tasting experience in one of their four, barrel-shaped ‘pods’, I still prefer how we did it.

We dined at the family-friendly Goatshed Restaurant and ordered build-your-own-type cheese platters. Add a selection of cured meats and it becomes a veritable feast!

What I like most about this is you get to experience the tranquil outdoor seating or top terrace (you can also sit inside if preferred) and admire the estate’s beautiful gardens and grounds. Not to mention, you can also see the famous Goat Tower from most of the tables too!

goatshed-restaurant-fairview

What it includes:

As I mentioned earlier, we ordered several items off the menu under their Dairy and Platter Selection options. (It was a few years ago so the options might have varied slightly.)

If you would like to mimic our approach, you could try the Fairview Cheese Selection (R150). This is served with artisanal breads, preserves and selected cheese platter options, made from Fairview’s finest Jersey and goats’ milk cheeses.

The fun of this is you can select your own options using the supplied form on your table. It makes it more of a personalised experience.

fairview-cheese-platter

In addition to that, we also ordered a tasty selection of cured meats (R135) and some of the estate’s excellent red wine by the glass.

They have an extensive selection of white, red, rose, MCC and dessert wine options to choose from. (You can generally order by glass or per bottle for your table.)

Why I enjoyed it:

Not only was this a relaxed, lovely way to enjoy great food and wine but it feels like one of the more personalised pairings I have done. Mainly because, if you order the Fairview Cheese Selection, you can choose your own cheeses.

fairview-cheese

Pricing per person:

I can’t give an estimate of per person pricing for this one – but Fairview Cheese Selection costs R150 and the Selection of Cured Meats costs R135.

This excludes the wine and other ordered items.

Is advance booking required/recommended:

It is not required as far as I know but I would definitely recommend advance booking for the Goatshed, especially over weekends. You can contact them directly or book through their website.

However, bookings for groups of ten or more are required for the tasting room. 

The Goatshed Restaurant is open Wednesday to Sunday. Wednesday – Thursday from 09:00 am – 15:00 pm and on Friday – Sunday from 09:00 am – 17:00 pm.

Their tasting room is open Monday to Sunday, 09:00 am – 17:00 pm. (Closed on Christmas and New Year’s Day.)

Contact information:

 +27 (021) 863 2450, info@fairview.co.za

Website:

www.fairview.co.za

 

Bloemendal: Wine and Ice-Cream Pairing

favourite-cape-winelands-wine-tastings-bloemendal-wine-estate

This Durbanville gem is one of the most family-friendly estates anywhere and now with a delectable array of fun pairings – including a kiddies’ sweet pairing – the whole family can join in or at least unleash their inner child.

bloemendal-wine-estate-tasting-room

We visited this boutique wine farm for their excellent wine and ice-cream pairing but there are plenty of great options, as they also offer nougat and chocolate pairings too.

Add to that, a restaurant, great MTB trails and the Bloemendal Trail Park and event spaces – and this wine farm is perfect for visiting with friends and family.

What it includes:

You get three wines and ice-cream flavours for R100 per person. These are paired together as follows:

  • Bloemendal Waterlily Sauvignon Blanc 2020 paired with Nina’s granadilla ice-cream
  • Their Three Sixty Merlot Rose 2020 paired with Nina’s Turkish delight ice-cream
  • Their Waterlily Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 paired with Nina’s chocolate coffee ice-cream

bloemendal-ice-cream-pairing

Why I enjoyed it:

The ice-cream flavours have changed slightly since our visit. But, regardless of the flavours, I loved this tasting. You feel at once like an adult and a child. Somehow, wine and ice-cream go perfectly together, especially on a hot summer’s day! 🙂 It is fun, playful and delicious. What more could you want from a wine pairing?

Best of all, their sheltered tasting room spills out into the garden so you can sit outside and admire your peaceful surroundings.

bloemendal-wine-tasting
Photo credit: Alicia Chamaillé

Pricing per person:

R100 per person for three wines and accompanying ice-creams.

Note: These ice-creams contain dairy so they are not suitable for lactose intolerant guests.

Is advance booking required/recommended:

Yes, I would book in advance, purely because tastings are subject to availability and they can get quite busy, especially on weekends.

Their tasting room is open from Tuesday to Sunday. Tuesday – Saturday from 10:00 am – 17:00 pm and on Sundays and public holidays from 11:00 am – 15:00 pm.

Contact information:

+27 (021) 976 2682, winetasting@bloemendalwines.co.za

Website:

bloemendalestate.co.za

 

Lourensford Wine Estate: Wine and Belgian Chocolate

favourite-cape-winelands-wine-pairings-lourensford

This beautiful Helderberg estate, situated in Somerset West, is another family-friendly gem and one of the most gorgeous estates around to boot!

What I love most about Lourensford though is that they are a really interesting estate to visit. You don’t just have a tasting centre and eateries – there are boutique shops, their famous market, dreamy garden spaces and so much more to enjoy here.

lourensford-wine-farm

But suffice to say that when you can sample award-winning wines paired with decadent, rich Belgian chocolate… that is a big enough drawcard by my reckoning! 🙂

What it includes:

For R110 per person, you can enjoy three wines and one honey liqueur with accompanying Belgian chocolate slabs. These are paired together as follows:

  • The Dome Chardonnay with orange dark chocolate
  • Lourensford Estate Merlot with dark cherry chocolate
  • Lourensford Estate Shiraz with dark chilli chocolate
  • Their unique Honey Liqueur with dark mint chocolate

chocolate-wine-pairing

Why I enjoyed it:

Aside from the fact that the wines and the chocolate are all incredible – what makes this pairing so unique and special is that everything is very elegant and lovely.

I also love how once unwrapped, the little chocolate slabs each show through texture and richness their different flavourings.

You really get to taste how the chocolate softens, sweetens or enhances the wines.

lourensford-chocolate-pairing

This was also the first time I ever tried chilli chocolate and honey liqueur so it made for an unusual experience. The honey liqueur, which is produced on the estate, is quite interesting.

Pricing per person:

R110 per person for three wines, one honey liqueur and accompanying Belgian chocolate slabs.

Is advance booking required/recommended:

It is not listed as required on their website but I would recommend advance booking to be safe.

Their tasting room is open Monday to Sunday, from 10:00 am – 17:00 pm.

Contact information:

+27 (021) 847 2300, winetastings@lourensford.co.za

Website:

lourensford.co.za

 

Warwick Wine Estate: Excellent Wine Pairings and Tasty Platters

warwick-wines
Photo credit: Alicia Chamaillé

This Stellenbosch favourite, with its lush gardens and picturesque setting, is another estate made for exploring with your loved ones.

Aside from their fun, seasonal picnic pods and family-friendliness, Warwick also produces some beautiful wines.

warwick-wines
Photo credit: Alicia Chamaillé

A few years ago, we were fortunate enough to join them for their Exclusive Wine Pairing.

Sadly, they no longer offer this particular option but they do have an excellent range of wine tastings, platters and pairings to choose from. Not to mention the delicious-sounding Flammkuchen.

What it includes:

Although the pairing we enjoyed a few years ago is not quite offered these days (you can still ask after the older vintages, Trilogy and Cab Franc though) – here is a similar one I found for you to try: the Gourmet Pairing (R150 per person). Which, as a bonus, also includes some interesting bites to eat!

The wines and eats are paired together as follows:

  • First Lady Brut Rose MCC and Basilei strawberry marshmallow;
  • First Lady Dry Rose  and Dalewood Hugenot one-year-old mature cheese;
  • Professor Black Sauvignon Blanc and goats’ cheese ball with fresh basil;
  • White Lady Chardonnay and Basilei honey and almond nougat;
  • Blue Lady Cabernet Sauvignon and Ryan Boon beef biltong.

Or, you can order a delicious cheese platter, like the one we sampled, for R195 per platter (suitable for two people sharing). Their platters are excellent!

They also have a vegan and charcuterie platter option, if preferred.

warwick-wine-estate-platters
Photo credit: Alicia Chamaillé

Why I enjoyed it:

Aside from the quality wines, professional service and delicious nibbles we enjoyed, Warwick is just a really gorgeous estate.

warwick-wine-estate-picnics

I especially love their outdoor forest courtyard, which offers stunning views across the garden, rolling lawns and dam.

This makes for a relaxing, peaceful winetasting experience that you are unlikely to forget.

favourite-cape-winelands-wine-pairings-warwick

Pricing per person:

R150 per person for the Gourmet Pairing, while their platters cost R195.

Is advance booking required/recommended:

Booking are only essential for groups of ten or more. 

Still, it is perhaps a good idea to book in advance on weekends.

They are open daily from 09:00 am – 17:00 pm.

Contact information:

+27 (021) 884 4410, info@warwickwine.com

Website:

www.warwickwine.com

 

Esona Boutique Wine Estate: Taste the Difference in a Candelit Underground Cellar

favourite-cape-winelands-wine-pairings-esona

One of the winetasting experiences that has stayed with me over the years, as a cherished ‘perfect’ memory, was Esona’s quietly mind-blowing ‘taste the difference’ experience.

This beautiful boutique wine farm, situated midway between Bonnievale and the Robertson Wine Valley, along the Breede River, is one of the most special that you will encounter anywhere.

With a personalised, heartfelt warmth that emanates from husband-and-wife team, Rowan and Caryl, right through to their close-knit team of staff, excellent wines and a truly unique setting – Esona leaves a permanent mark on your wineloving senses as only it can.

robertson-wine-valley-breede-river

What it includes:

Esona has a nice selection of wines to enjoy.

You can choose from the Standard Tasting (two vintages in Riedel glasses) or the more elaborate tastings and pairings, wherein wine, art, confectionary and music are all included in the experience.

Note: Their standard tastings are enjoyed on the deck, upstairs at Caryl’s Bistro or inside near the fire.

(I won’t spoil it entirely – but the Riedel glasses are also the reason you really get to taste the difference. This is because the glass you drink wine from, really does factor in the taste and overall experience!)

Why I enjoyed it:

We visited as a small media group and enjoyed a wonderful, candelit wine tasting in their underground cellar – famous for its century-old ‘kuip‘ (a cement and river-stone cistern that was formerly used to ensure suitable darkness and temperature control way back when).

esona-boutique-wine-estate-kuip

With music filtering through the old walls, it feels like a step back in time and one that romantically locks you in a moment of simplicity, complete with good food, laidback conversation and now even artworks to enhance your drinking pleasure.

There is something inexplicable about sipping wine from Riedel glasses in an ancient, candelit cellar that doesn’t translate easily into words; it has to be experienced first-hand to be truly understood.

Needless to say, it remains one of my most unique winetastings for so many reasons – but perhaps most of all because it was just a timeless, pleasurable outing with a fun group of people.

caryls-bistro-platters-esona

While you are visiting, be sure to try out their Caryl’s Bistro fare.

This charming, upstairs bistro is loved for its beautiful views, sandwiches and gourmet platters.

Pricing per person:

Please contact the estate directly for pricing.

Is advance booking required/recommended:

Not for the Standard Tasting, no – but it is required for their other tasting and pairing experiences.

For opening times, please contact the estate directly or book through their website.

Contact information:

+27 (076) 343 5833, info@esona.co.za

Website:

esona.co.za

 

Durbanville Hills: Wine and Cheese or Dried Fruit, Biltong Pairings

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Durbanville Hills is not only one of the most famous, panoramic estates in the tranquil Durbanville Wine Valley but they also offer some of the most extensive pairing options.

favourite-cape-winelands-wine-pairings-durbanville

And quite honestly, here, I would happily just pay for the views alone – even without the added bonus of award-winning wines and some fun, varied pairings, like chocolate or biltong and dried fruit.

What it includes:

When we visited, I sampled the Cheese and Wine Pairing, while my colleague tried the Biltong and Dried Fruit option. Both pairings are priced at R105 per person.

The Cheese and Wine Pairing includes five wines, with five lovely cheeses.

I can’t recall the exact pairings but I do remember being absolutely blown away by this option – even though cheese pairings feel like the plainest option around these days.

durbanville-hills-biltong-dried-fruit-pairing

My colleague also raved about their traditionally South African Biltong and Dried Fruit pairing. (Again, this offered five wines paired with biltong and dried fruit pieces.)

Why I enjoyed it:

durbanville-hills-tamlyn-amber-wanderlust

For a start, can you ever go wrong with good cheese and wine?

But it is so much more than just a satisfying pairing combo because everything from the chic tasting room to the breathtaking views makes this a special winetasting experience.

durbanville-hills-table-mountain

I also love that they have both a Chocolate Pairing and Crystal Tasting, as well as a unique Collectors Reserve tasting experience (R295 per person; bookings required).

The latter includes a private cellar tour and an interactive food-and-wine experience, as well as a complimentary, takehome bottle of wine.

Pricing per person:

Both the Cheese and Biltong and Dried Fruit Pairings cost R105 per person.

Each option includes five wines paired with either five cheeses or biltong and dried fruit.

Is advance booking required/recommended:

Not for the normal pairings, no.

However, for the Collectors Reserve tasting experience and normal cellar tours, prior booking – some 24-48 hours in advance – is essential.

For opening times and other information, please contact the estate directly or visit their website.

Contact information:

+27 (021) 558 1300, info@durbanvillehills.co.za

Website:

www.durbanvillehills.co.za

 

Kunjani Wines: Wine and German Charcuterie, Artisanal Cheese Platters

favourite-cape-winelands-wine-pairings-kunjani

Situated in the Stellenbosch Wine Route, the vibrant Kunjani Wines is one of the best things to ever entered the winelands.

Run by the passionate husband-and-wife team, Paul and Pia, this gorgeous wine farm offers the very best in Cape Winelands accommodation, food and wine.

kunjani-wines-restaurant-interior

Add to that a truly welcoming, homely atmosphere and a secluded, yet scenic setting and you have a dream destination.

What it includes:

Although Kunjani only offers normal wine tastings, you can visit for lunch or an afternoon meal and order one of their mouthwatering charcuterie platters and a bottle of wine, while savouring the serenity of the deck, as I did.

favourite-cape-winelands-wine-pairings-stellenbosch

Kunjani is special – that’s a fact – and their food and wine only further assures one of this. With the combination of Chef Lamek’s incredible cuisine and the estate’s beautiful wines, it is hard to go wrong with a food and wine experience at Kunjani.

Why I enjoyed it:

Aside from the obvious (amazing food and wine in a stunning setting), what made this visit truly memorable was chatting to Pia and the wonderful Kunjani team.

al-fresco-dining-kunjani-wines

Each staff member gushes with pride and friendly advice, so you are saved from having to agonise over what to order from their excellent food and/or wine options.

Pricing per person:

I visited for a past Sunset Fridays event so pricing may vary.

But generally, you can order a bottle (or two) of wine for roughly R130-R220 – and a platter for between R145 to R310, depending on the size and platter option.

They have Artisanal Cheese, German Charcuterie or a mixed platter that combines the two.

Their platters are huge and extremely filling so two people can easily enjoy them together.

You can also go the traditional route and enjoy a standard wine tasting.

Is advance booking required/recommended:

No but it is advisable for both wine tastings and restaurant meals – I would say especially so for restaurant meals, in fact.

They are open for lunch Monday to Sunday, from 11:00 am – 16:00 pm. (They also offer breakfast. Please visit their website for more details on this.)

While wine tastings can be enjoyed daily, from 10:00 am – 16:30 pm.

Contact information:

+27 (087) 630 0409

Website:

kunjaniwines.co.za

 

Canto Wines: MCC and Macaroons

favourite-cape-winelands-wine-pairings-canto

Canto Wines only burst onto the Durbanville wine scene a few years ago now – yet ask anyone in Cape Town about Canto and chances are they have either heard of or tried this estate’s popular pairing, which features Macaroons and Methode Cap Classique (MCC), SA’s proud version of bubbly.

I was one of the first to enjoy this pairing back in the day and even then, I knew it would be a timeless hit – and so it has proven to be!

This small, yet pretty boutique estate not only offers gorgeous wines, picnics and other exciting deli goods – but they also double as a magical wedding and events venue… Okay, now back to the MCC and Macaroons!

favourite-cape-winelands-wine-pairings-canto-wines

What it includes:

The signature Canto MCC and Macaroon pairing (R105 per person) includes the following delicious MCC and sweet treats:

Chardonnay MCC Brut with hazelnut macaroon

– Shiraz Rose MCC Brut with red velvet macaroon

– Pinot Noir MCC Brut with Turkish delight macaroon

– Canto Pinot Noir/Chardonnay MCC Brut with salted caramel macaroon

canto-red-velvet-macaroon

Needless to say, each of these pairing options is absolutely stunning and will leave you craving more.

My personal favourites are the red velvet and hazelnut combinations.

In addition to their signature pairing, Canto also has a standard wine pairing; a non-alcoholic artisanal tonic water pairing (enjoyed with four carefully selected, gourmet macaroons); and a G&T-infused option (this is served with a selection of interesting pairings).

Why I enjoyed it:

Because it feels sophisticated, yet flirty and fun and the MCC wines and the macaroons are of the highest quality so it makes for the perfect pairing.

canto-wines

Plus, their lovely tasting room-deli setting and expansive lawn, with its distant mountain views, complements the winetastings perfectly.

Pricing per person:

R105 per person for four MCC wines and four macaroons.

Is advance booking required/recommended:

Yes, bookings are essential.

Canto is open daily for tastings. Opening times are as follows:

Monday – Thursday, 10:00 am – 17:00 pm

– Friday: 10:00 am – 17:00 pm

– Saturday: 10:00 am – 17:00 pm

– Sunday: 11:00 am – 16:30 pm

Contact information:

+27 (021) 492 2821, info@cantowines.co.za

Website:

cantowines.co.za

 

Waterford Estate: Wine and Chocolate

favourite-cape-winelands-wine-pairings-waterford-estate

This Stellenbosch stunner has been on my radar for sometime and finally, in 2021, I got to visit this beautiful estate.

Situated in a tranquil oasis among oak trees and hedges, Waterford Estate is like something straight out of Tuscany. If its architectural style does not blow your breath away, then the serene courtyard setting and wine tastings definitely will.

waterford-estate

In addition to a range of wine tasting options, Waterford also has SALT Restaurant, a wine drive safari and a nature-inspired Porcupine Trail Walk.

For our visit though, we settled on their excellent chocolate and wine pairing.

What it includes:

waterford-estate-chocolate-and-wine

For R95 per person, you can enjoy three wines with accompanying Waterford-stamped chocolate slabs. These are paired together as follows:

  • Kevin Arnold Shiraz with Masala Chai (70% dark chocolate);
  • Waterford Estate Cabernet Sauvignon with Rock Salt Chocolate (also 70% dark);
  • Waterford Heatherleigh (dessert wine) with Rose Geranium milk chocolate.
favourite-cape-winelands-wine-pairings-stellenbosch-waterford
Photo credit: Alicia Chamaillé

Cellar master and managing partner at Waterford, Kevin Arnold and chocolatier, Richard von Geusau, have created a sublime wine and chocolate pairing.

Why I enjoyed it:

Honestly, I enjoyed each option but my favourite combo was definitely the Kevin Arnold Shiraz with Masala Chai.

If I look at the wines on their own, though, it was the Cab Sauvignon and Heatherleigh (divine) that stole the show for me.

Waterford also makes a lovely Chardonnay, which we also sampled. All their wines are stunning; it is just a matter of which each person enjoys more.

waterford-estate-tasting-room-courtyard

This pairing is excellent and with indoor or courtyard seating in a truly stunning atmosphere, with quality service, the experience is faultless.

Pricing per person:

R95 per person for three wines and three chocolate slabs.

Is advance booking required/recommended:

Yes, advance booking is essential as they are very popular, especially on weekends.

Their tasting room is open Monday to Sunday, from 10:00 am – 17:00 pm.

Contact information:

+27 (021) 880 5300, cellardoor@waterfordestate.co.za

Website:

waterfordestate.co.za

 

Kleinood Wine Estate: Wines and Seasonal Platters

favourite-cape-winelands-wine-pairings-kleinood

Situated just across the road from Waterford Estate, we have Kleinood. This small farm is a veritable hidden gem and one that impresses in every possible way.

Not only does Kleinood offer the most beautiful boutique shop (you can also shop online via their website) filled with incredible home goods and gifts from soap to raw honey – but they also enjoy the most beautiful farm setting.

kleinood-estate-gardens

Their gardens are a joy to explore (definitely ecommended if you visit) and their secluded tasting area offers a tranquil haven where you can enjoy excellent wine and platters.

We did not sample their wines but I have read stunning reviews of them and our fellow guests seemed to thoroughly enjoy their wine tasting. So I have no doubt their small, yet great range of wines are sublime.

We did, however, try their generous seasonal platter (R400) and it was incredible! 

platter-kleinood

What it includes:

Visitors can enjoy their standard Tamboerskloof wine tasting. This includes four wines and their award-winning olive oil. The tasting is priced affordably at R100 per person.

Alternatively, guests can order a bottle or by the glass as well. (Pricing will vary.)

But my personal recommendation is to order either their standard tasting or a bottle of wine and pair it with their impeccable, seasonal platter.

seasonal-platter-kleinood

Priced at R400 for two sharing, this generous platter offering includes estate produced and/or locally sourced delicacies that range from fresh fruits to cheese, cured meats, pickled vegetables and of course, excellent bread and estate-made raw, rose-infused honey.

kleinood-raw-honey

Why I enjoyed it:

Aside from the fact that Kleinood offers the most dreamy setting – within a small garden courtyard, where ponds, roses and running water reign – this farm ensures an intimate, welcoming experience for guests.

Everything from the warm service to the amazing wines and platters make a visit to Kleinood unmissable.

kleinood-wine-tasting

Our platter was a feast; so much so that we were nearly bested by it and this was our lunch for the day. Everything was fresh, delicious and local.

Standouts included the divine estate rose-infused raw honey, amazing cheeses and the freshest fruits around. Some of the pickled and/or cured options were also incredible!

The platter was absolutely faultless and delicious and such great value for two sharing.

After your tasting or platter, be sure to also browse their little shop as there are some real treasures inside it.

And definitely enjoy a peaceful stroll about the gardens. 🙂

kleinood-estate-stellenbosch
Photo credit: Alicia Chamaillé

Pricing per person:

R100 per person for their standard tasting of four wines and olive oil.

Alternatively, order by the bottle or glass.

Platters are R400 for two sharing.

Is advance booking required/recommended:

For platters, I would say bookings are essential but it is probably more relaxed for tastings.

Their tasting room is open Monday to Saturday, from 10:00 am – 16:00 pm.

Contact information:

+27 (021) 880 2527, tastingroom@kleinood.com

Website:

www.kleinood.com

Hidden Valley Wines: Five Wines and Unique Belgian Chocolates

favourite-cape-winelands-wine-pairings-hidden-valley-wines

For years, I have been itching to visit Hidden Valley Wines. Tucked away in a secluded, tranquil valley towards the mountains, Hidden Valley is a rare Stellenbosch gem.

The setting is second to none (the views up the long, narrow drive already impress), the tasting room and staff are excellent and the estate itself is well-rounded with an eatery, picnics and a nature trail to also enjoy.

hidden-valley-wines-tasting-room

Much like the estate’s hidden location, their best-kept secret is their incredible Belgian chocolate and wine pairing.

belgian-chocolates-hidden-valley-wines

What it includes:

Hidden Valley Wines’ chocolate and wine pairing includes five wines and five specially paired, exquisite Belgian chocolates.

rose-hidden-valley-wines-pairing

Chocolates even include an identical replica of the artsy, bronze face sculpture that adorns the wine labels and is dotted about the farm.

hidden-valley-wines-face-sculpture

While the chocolate flavours generally change each year/with each new vintage (to complement the wines), the same quality is always assured.

This is understandably a hugely popular tasting.

hidden-valley-wines-wine-pairing

In addition to this pairing, they have offer standard, six-wine pairing and cheese- and charcuterie- platters to enjoy. (Platters usually also include the estate’s own, divine table olives and fresh olive oil).

olive-oil-and-olives-hidden-valley-wines

The wines and handcrafted, locally made Belgian chocolates I tried are as follows:

  • Sauvignon Blanc (unwooded) 2021 paired with lime- and pineapple-flavoured white chocolate. (Both divine; the wine and choc are both easily 10/10.)

hidden-valley-sauvignon-blanc

  • Sauvignon Blanc_Viognier 2020 (unwooded, 61% SB, 39% Viognier) paired with a peach-flavoured white chocolate. (Both lovely. A stronger wine (8/10) and lovely, subtle choc (9/10).)

hidden-valley-rose-wine-favourite-cape-winelands-wine-pairings

  • Hidden Treasure Rose 2021 paired with strawberry- and rooibos-flavoured milk chocolate. This is famously shaped like the Hidden Valley Wines sculpture. (A lovely, uniquely bottled, stronger rose (9/10) and excellent choc (9/10). I liked this combo the most, especially after a sip of wine and nibble of choc.)

hidden-valley-reds-favourite-cape-winelands-wine-pairings

  • Hidden Gems 2017 (62% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Petit Verdot and 8% Merlot blend) paired with smokey berry-flavoured milk chocolate. (This is a lovely red blend and chocolate, 9/10 for both.)

hidden-valley-chocolate-and-wine-pairing-favourite-cape-winelands-wine-pairings

  • Hidden Secret 2017 (79% Shiraz and 21% interesting Tanmat blend) paired with chilli- and cherry-flavoured dark chocolate. (I love Shiraz so I really enjoyed this blend and dark chocolate (9/10). The Shiraz flavour is stronger after a bite of choc.)

Why I enjoyed it:

Overall, this is a really quality, value-for-money pairing. It is highly fascinating to sample and discover more about.

handcrafted-chocolates-favourite-cape-winelands-wine-pairings

I also love how the handcrafted Belgian chocolates are made locally by a Dutch chocolatier, who takes each vintage and/or wine’s individual flavours into account when producing each chocolate flavour.

Final approval is then given by the estate’s winemaker.

hidden-valley-wines-chocolates-favourite-cape-winelands-wine-pairings

The setting and service at Hidden Valley Wines are incredible.

Sonja and her team are a class act; they really know their stuff.

This is an easy 9/10 (or higher) type of wine pairing experience.

When visiting, I also recommend enjoying a platter or picnic. 

Alternatively, grab a self-service burger or pizza and drinks at The Deck.

the-deck-at-hidden-valley-wines

Also, check out the estate’s delightful, scenic nature walk. (It is free and takes about 20-25 minutes. No pets allowed.)

Pricing per person:

Hidden Valley’s five wines and five chocolates pairing is extremely well-priced at R140 per person.

HVW wines and chocolates are really quality. So this is quite a luxurious tasting, with killer views.

hidden-valley-wines-stellenbosch-favourite-cape-winelands-wine-pairings

Is advance booking required/recommended:

Yes, advance booking is essential for all wine tastings and platters.

Their tasting room is open Monday to Saturday, from 09:00 am – 18:00 pm (summer) – and 09:00 am – 17:00 pm (winter).

Contact information:

+27 (021) 880 2646, winetasting@hiddenvalleywines.co.za

Website:

www.hiddenvalleywines.co.za

 

Plaisir de Merle: Generous Cheese Platters and Artisanal Wine- and Gin-Pairings

plaisir-de-merle-favourite-cape-wine-pairings

With over 400 years of decorated winemaking history and a stunning, historical setting on the fringes of fairest Franschhoek, Plaisir de Merle is an excellent wine tasting experience.

favourite-cape-winelands-wine-pairings-plaisir-de-merle

The estate offers a range of varied tastings (everything from Tempest gin pairings to artisanal (treat) tastings and generous cheese- or charcuterie-and-cheese-platters), an indoor weekend market, gorgeous MTB- and hiking-trails and lovely, on-site estate accommodation.

plaisir-de-merle-wine-pairing

plaisir-de-merle-wine-lounge

Plaisir de Merle is one of those unexpectedly beautiful farms that hasn’t quite been discovered by the droves. Yet.

This, if anything, makes it even more appealing, as do the warmly welcoming staff and gentle labradors who roam the estate.

day-hikes-plaisir-de-merle

The estate has a vast, beautiful lawn area, complete with picture-perfect views of the historic Manor House, adorable replica moat and the impressive wine cellar with its huge aqua doors.

moat-plaisir-de-merle-wine-farm

wine-cellar-plaisir-de-merle

Nearby, the old barn – in which the ultra elegant and tastefully decked out wine lounge and tasting room rest – dates back to 1823. It combines the best of yesteryear and modernity in one.

plaisir-de-merle-wine-lounge-franschhoek

The outside wine tasting area, near oak trees and the lawn, offers relaxed tables and amazing views of the Simonsberg mountains and nearby Manor House.

Wine-pairing-cape-winelands-franschhoek

It was a tough choice but, with such balmy autumn weather and live weekend music, I decided to sit outdoors.

Note: As a bonus, the Franschhoek Wine Tram now stops at Plaisir de Merle.

What it includes:

When I visited, I tried both a cheese platter and an artisanal pairing, so I will touch on both below.

If you order their cheese platter for one, this includes everything from local cheeses to fresh fruits, salad and freshly baked/toasted breads to several delicious preserves (including some unique ones, like green/red pepper and tomato preserves).

plaisir-de-merle-cheese-platter

It is absolutely delicious and so generous that two could actually share it.

I couldn’t quite finish it, despite not eating anything else that day beforehand.

platter-plaisir-de-merle

Their fudge and wine pairing, meanwhile, includes four wines (one white, a red blend and two reds) and four artisanal fudge pieces.

Additionally, Plaisir de Merle offers nougat and wine and artisanal gin pairings, as well as beers to enjoy at the tasting centre – so I will definitely be back.

Oh, Fudge!

The wines and artisanal fudge (made by Roses Artisanal Delicacies) I tried are as follows:

  • Chardonny 2020 paired with lemon and dark chocolate fudge. I tried the Chardonnay twice (once with my platter and again with the pairing) and loved it. It has strong citrus notes that the lemon and dark choc fudge brings out beautifully. This was my pick of the pairings (9/10). 
  • Merlot 2018 paired with raspberry and dark chocolate fudge. This was my second favourite pairing. Their Merlot is delicious and it went well with the fudge (8/10).
  • Petit Plaisir Red Blend 2020 paired with cranberry and dark chocolate fudge. This was not my favourite wine or pairing option but they were decent on their own (6/10).
  • Cabernet Sauvignon 2018 (a 2022 Platter’s winner) paired with coffee and dark chocolate fudge. While this is an understandably highly rated wine, personally – it was not my favourite Cab Sauv. I also found the coffee fudge quite overpowering, despite normally loving anything coffee-flavoured. So this was my next least favourite pairing (7/10).

roses-coffee-fudge

Why I enjoyed it:

Overall, everything from the setting to the warm, professional service, laidback weekend ambience and live music and delicious food and wine made this one of my more special tasting experiences.

I would say an easy 9/10 for quality, taste, service and setting.

If you have a sweet tooth, the fudge pairing is a great choice – but the gin looks like a great bet too!

And please try their platters; you won’t regret it!

Before or after your tasting experience, if you visit on a weekend, pop into the modest indoor market next door – or enjoy a paid-for MTB or hiking experience via the trail centre nearby.

best-western-cape-day-hikes-plaisir-de-merle

Pricing per person:

The platter for one costs R160 but it is very good value. It is generous, filling and diverse and entirely locally sourced and produced. 

The fudge and wine pairing costs R130. It is well-priced for what you get and I found their estate wines to be very good.

Is advance booking required/recommended:

Booking is not essential, so walk-ins are welcome, even when they are busy.

However, for groups (of five or more), bookings are advised – but more from a seating point of view.

(I visited on a busy Sunday afternoon and was promptly assisted. There is ample space between the relaxed outdoor seating and gorgeous wine lounge and tasting room.)

Their tasting room is open Monday to Sunday, 10:00 am – 17:00 pm. They are closed on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year’s.

Regrettably, no pets are allowed on the estate.

Contact information:

+27 (021) 488 9977, tastingroom@plaisir.co.za

Website:

www.plaisir.co.za

 

Jordan Wines: A 360-degree Vineyard Safari and Wine Tasting Experience

favourite-cape-winelands-pairings-jordan-wines

Bought in 1982 by Gary Jordan’s parents, Ted and Sheelagh, this stunning, 164-hectare Stellenbosch farm has a rich history that dates back over 300 years.

On a winemaking front, Jordan has been producing world-class wines since 1993. Ever since then, they have consistently raked in the wine accolades, both locally and internationally.

The farm focuses heavily on a sustainable approach (evidenced in everything from its water recycling methods to its careful farming and care for local nature and wildlife, like chameleons), while also specialising in planting varieties in the soils and slopes that best suit their needs. (Even shown on their wine labels if you look closely enough during the vineyard safari tour.)

cellar-door-jordan-wines

Beyond its wine, Jordan also offers luxury accommodation, two lovely eateries (although currently the main restaurant is undergoing renovations and is set to re-open in September 2022), dreamy picnics and much more to enjoy.

What it includes:

This 360-degree vineyard safari and wine experience includes a wonderful, in-depth and informative safari tour of the estate in a Land Rover.

You drive up into the hills and vineyards, where you enjoy two or more incredibly scenic stops on the farm.

jordan-wines-tamlyn-amber-wanderlust

Included in the tour is a informative, engaging wine tasting (sampling several excellent wines per person) before ending off with a wonderful tour of Jordan’s innovative cellar. (Your final tasting is enjoyed either in the barrel cellar as you walk or on the terrace.)

You learn so much about this family-owned, award-winning Stellenbosch estate while also enjoying the most spectacular scenery of the vineyards, vast farmlands, False Bay and Table Bay, Stellenbosch and the surrounding Cape Winelands mountain ranges.

jordan-wines-vineyard-safari-wine-pairing

Plus, you get to sample several of the estate’s quality wines on your adventure!

Why I enjoyed it:

I loved how informative, fun and inspiring this vineyard safari is. Even on a blustery winter’s day, the views and atmosphere are incredible.

If you are lucky, on a clear day, you can even see Table Mountain and you really get to see the rich beauty of both Jordan and the Cape Winelands first-hand.

jordan-wines-cape-winelands-wine-pairings

Manager, Chim, took me on the tour (I was the only guest who booked on that day – but, in summertime, they often do as many as four tours per day).

He ensured the experience was truly memorable with his warm, friendly conversation, interesting insights into the estate’s history, winemaking and sustainable farming practices and fun, scenic stops, where he kindly gave me ample time to soak up the views and take some photos and videos.

table-mountain

During my tour, I sampled the following wines (mainly whites, as per my taste preference):

  • Jordan Cold Fact Sauvignon Blanc 2021
  • Jordan Unoaked Chardonnay 2020
  • Jordan The Real McCoy Riesling 2021
  • Jordan The Prospector Syrah
  • Jordan Black Magic Merlot 2019

All the wines were excellent – but my top two of the white and red respectively were the Chardonnay and Merlot.

vineyard-safari-wine-pairing-stellenbosch

Once we finished our incredible vineyard safari, my tour ended with a fascinating tour of the cool cellar.

This is one of the most thrilling, unhurried and memorable tours and wine tasting experiences that I have enjoyed to date and I can highly recommend it.

Tip:

The tour is also popular for romantic proposals among guests!

(I would definitely say yes on a tour like this. It is stunning and really special.)

Contact events@jordanwines.com directly for information on their proposal planning options.

cape-winelands-pairings

Pricing per person:

This safari and wine experience costs R625 per person.

It runs between one hour, 30 minutes to two hours and includes a scenic vineyard safari, several excellent wine tastings and a cellar tour – so it is very good value.

vineyard-safari-jordan-wine-estate

Is advance booking required/recommended:

Yes, booking is essential.

A maximum of ten guests are permitted per tour.

Please also be advised this experience is weather dependent.

Contact information:

+27 (021) 881 3441, info@jordanwines.com

Website:

www.jordanwines.com

 

In Closing

These are just a few of my favourite Cape Winelands wine pairings in sunny South Africa.

Are there any others you can recommend that I should try next? 🙂

About the Author

4 thoughts on “My Favourite Cape Winelands Wine Pairings”

  1. Great blog, thanks.

    Villiera is not offering their pairing at present. Maybe they will offer it again before the end of year.

    1. Hi Louis,

      Thank you for the kind feedback on the post!

      Ah, I am sorry about that… Yes, sadly, I think COVID and the different alcohol bans have affected a lot of the ‘normal’ wine farm offerings or forced them to change things up.

      But maybe you can email them and check if they will be reintroducing it for this summer. 🙂

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