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 Chamaillรฉ

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
Photo credit: Non Stop Destination

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
Photo credit: Non Stop Destination

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
Photo credit: Non Stop Destination

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.ย 

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:

ย +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! ๐Ÿ™‚ 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 Chamaillรฉ

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! ๐Ÿ™‚

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.ย 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 Chamaillรฉ

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 Chamaillรฉ

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 Roseย  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 Chamaillรฉ

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.ย 

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

favourite-cape-winelands-wine-pairings-durbanville-hills

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

 

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? ๐Ÿ™‚

COVID-19 DISCLAIMER:

Please remember that COVID-19 rules and regulations may affect opening times and availability of wine farm tasting rooms, restaurants and even on-site attractions/experiences mentioned in this post.

As such, I can assume no responsibility for any closures or limited services.

For the latest provincial and national COVID-19 restrictions and levels, please visit an official government portal.

Please also remember to:

  • Wear a mask in public (fineable by law);
  • Practice social distancing;
  • Sanitise frequently;
  • Stay home if you feel unwell.

Author: Tamlyn Ryan

Content writer by day and blogger by night, Tamlyn Ryan passionately runs her own travel blog, called Tamlyn Amber Wanderlust, from her home base of Cape Town, South Africa. And, despite a national diploma in Journalism, in her free time, Tamlyn’s preferred niche remains travel writing.

Tamlyn is a hopeless wanderer, equipped with an endless passion for road trips, carefully planned, holiday itineraries and, above all else, an innate love for the great outdoors.

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