We had made a plan to visit the Blaauwklippen Family Market on Sunday and so I thought it would be a good idea to pop in for a wine tasting beforehand (because, wine not?). There's really so much to do at the Estate itself, and the wine tasting venue is no different.
The wine tasting venue is situated at the back of the Estate. It has various rooms where you are able to do various tastings. Blaauwklippen is one of the unique tasting venues where they have their very own "Spirits Room" (see below left) where you can have a Gin Tasting for R75 (see below right). Here, you get to taste three of the Triple Three Gins, namely; Juniper Berry, African Botanica and Citrus Infusion. Perfect for the summer!
The tasting venue also offers a Brandy Tasting and various Wine Tastings:
- A Standard Wine Tasting costs R75 for 5 wines (excluding the Reserve Wines)
- A Wine and Chocolate Pairing costs R120 for 5 wines and 5 Belgian chocolates
- A Wine and Canapé Pairing costs R205 for 5 wines and 5 canapés
- A 6 course Wine and Food Pairing costs R450 per person
We were lucky enough to try the Wine and Chocolate Pairing! I must admit, I'm not usually a fan of chocolate and wine. I feel so many venues choose 3 to 5 wines for their wine tasting and then randomly add a piece of chocolate with each wine. I feel that this does nothing for the wine, and, in some cases, can even make the wine taste strange. In these cases, it is just the novelty of a Wine and Chocolate Tasting that they are selling. There's a big difference between a Wine and Chocolate Tasting and a Wine and Chocolate Pairing, as, in the case of the latter, the one must compliment the other. This is exactly what Blaauwklippen has managed to achieve!
This pairing option consists of 5 wines (see below). One of the wines is actually a Brandy! These 5 "wines" include: White Zinfandel, Malbec, Noble Late Harvest Zinfandel, 10 Year Potstill Brandy and Before & After (an Apéritif).
These wines are paired with 5 Belgian chocolates (see below): Coriander Whirl, White Spice Heart, Coffee & Ginger Dark Coffee Bean, Warm Spicy Orange Box and Hot Hot Chili Oval.
This paring was really interesting as I'd never experienced anything like it before.
The White Zinfandel was really fresh and fruity. It paired well with the really sweet white chocolate. I didn't get much of the coriander flavour in the chocolate, but the sweetness and spiciness of the chocolate alone really made the fruitiness of the wine stand out. You really do experience more of the apricot and peach flavours!
The Malbec tasted quite 'chocolatey' and berry-like, but the taste changed quite dramatically when you added the spicy chocolate. The cinnamon flavours in the chocolate really brought out the rum and honey flavours of the wine! I was quite impressed with this pairing.
Next up, was the delicious Noble Late Harvest. I like that it was a red sweet wine, as the flavours were quite spicy, 'chocolatey' and fruity with a cherry flavour. This was paired with a really dark chocolate that brought out the spiciness in the wine so that it almost tasted like Christmas cake. The ginger in the chocolate added to the delicious combination of these two.
The next wine was in fact not a wine, but a Brandy. This particular Brandy had been matured for 10 years in French oak barrels. I'm not really a Brandy fan, but you could definitely taste the fruit and vanilla flavours. Paired with the orange chocolate, it really brought out the nutty, honey flavour of the brandy. If you are into Brandy, I think you'd appreciate this more. (The Husband finished his!)
The last wine was truly yummy! It's actually a blend of the wood-matured red Noble Late
Harvest and the Blaauwklippen Potstill Brandy. But it is more Noble Late Harvest than Brandy. It's named Before & After as you could enjoy it both before and after a meal. (Personally, I think it's better enjoyed after!) I loved that it wasn't too sweet. It was paired with a chili chocolate (that wasn't too hot). This spice really brought out the cinnamon and spice in the wine, and, the pairing with the chocolate made me think that it would be a lovely wine to have with dessert as it isn't too sweet by itself. Yum!
I thought the staff at Blaauwklippen were really friendly and very knowledgeable about their products (and not just the ones who were serving us). Liam explained the Brandy Tasting to us. Did you know that you shouldn't taste brandy the same way you taste wine?
When getting a whiff of the brandy, you shouldn't shove your nose in the glass like you do with wine - you actually just hold the glass slightly away from your face and sniff from there. Also, you can place a small bit of brandy on your hand (as if you were trying a perfume), wait for the alcohol to evaporate, and then smell the flavours of the brandy on your hand. I did this and it does work! Lastly, when you taste the brandy, you're not meant to swirl it around your mouth and breathe in air like you perhaps would with wine tasting. With brandy, you take a small sip, and kind of keep it in the middle of your tongue. You then hold your breath to avoid oxygenating the brandy, which contains a fair bit of alcohol, and then swallow (and then breathe). Afterwards, you are really better able to taste the flavours of the brandy. Who knew? If you're a brandy fan, I'd recommend you go for the Brandy Tasting. I can imagine you would learn a fair bit!
For our wine tasting, we were blessed with the super professional Kudzai. He was really friendly and also knew a lot about the wines. You could tell that he was passionate about Blaauwklippen and their products. Here's a pic of him below posing with his personal favourite of the 5 wines which is, ironically, brandy!
We sat inside for our wine tasting, but there is a lovely outside area where you can have lunch (see below). The Bistro serves everything from platters to quiches to curries to burgers.
On the day we went, they had a Blackboard Special of a Bacon and Camembert Burger with Chips for R115 and Pork Belly for R130. Sounds delicious!
We opted to join the Blaauwklippen Family Market (see below). It's a great idea if you love food, wine, live music and sitting and chilling! It's also perfect for kids, with lots of space to run around on the grass and activities to keep them occupied.
There are various food stalls at the market, with foods such as burgers (see below left), nachos, pizza cones, chicken schnitzel burgers (see below right), calamari and chips, etc. There is really something for everyone. The market also sells anything from clothing to art to antiques.
I'd really recommend heading out to Blaauwklippen on a Sunday and enjoying all of the experiences they have to offer. You won't be disappointed!
(Note: If you do want to go for the wine tasting and/or the Bistro, you must make a booking as they get really busy, especially on a Sunday.)
Summer Times (1 October – 30 April)
Mondays to Saturdays: 10h00 - 18h00
Sundays & Public Holidays: 10h00 - 17h00
Winter Times (1 May – 30 September)
Mondays till Saturdays: 10h00 - 17h00
Sundays & Public Holidays: 10h00 - 17h00
Contact: +27 (0)21 880 0133
Address: Strand Road, R44 Stellenbosch, Stellenbosch, 7600
Star Rating: ****