If you are a frequent visitor in the Franschhoek area, I am sure that you would have driven past GlenWood on the road into Franschhoek many times. And what a pity! GlenWood really is your stereotypical 'hidden gem'. It's tucked away on Robertsvlei Road, just off the R45 and you have to drive for a little way on a gravel road to get there. And once you drive through their front gate, you will be in awe of what you see - literally a hidden oasis in what feels like the middle of nowhere!
This time, my sister joined me along for the outing. (The Husband had to work - I guess someone has to pay the bills. Shame.) But she was pretty excited, so off we went.
As you drive in to GlenWood, you reach this lovely bridge (see below) that takes you on a journey through the vineyards to get to the tasting room.
If you are just keen for a spot of wine tasting (i.e. you don't want to try the food experience), then you can sit outside of the tasting venue at the front (see below).
From this spot, you have an absolutely stunning view of the valley (see below) and you could easily spend a few hours staring into the distance. It's so peaceful and relaxing.
However, we sat on the right of the building (if you are facing the tasting room) and enjoyed our glass of Chardonnay while looking at the private guest cottages.
Now if you have been following me closely, you'd know that I don't really like Chardonnay. In fact, I used to say that drinking a glass of wooded Chardonnay was like licking an oak barrel! 🙂 But, I have changed my mind. Recently I have had the privilege of tasting some great Chardonnays, and this one was one of those.
This Chardonnay (see below) was the Vigneron's Selection 2016 and I liked the soft oaky flavour. It was light and refreshing and a bit citrus-like. I can imagine it would be very 'lekker' on a warm day.
Here, we met DP Burger - the General Manager and Winemaker. I've said before how cool it is when the winemaker takes time out of his/her day to meet you and have a chat. You really get to feel like you can understand the place better - all the effort and time that goes into your glass of wine on the table.
DP makes you feel like you're a guest in his own home and you just don't get those kind of experiences often. It was really awesome and we were super touched that he sat down to have lunch with us later.
(We then moved inside for our Food and Wine Experience because the wind became a bit unpleasant.)
I really cannot believe how much value for money this experience is! It costs R395 per person, which at first, may seem like a lot. But it includes a whole lot of things:
- A glass of the Chardonnay wine mentioned above
- 6 tastings of wine
- 6 tastings (canapé size) of food (Tasting Palette)
- A main meal and a glass of wine
- A glass of Noble Late Harvest wine
So how it works is: You taste all the wines and the 6 canapés. You pick your favourite combination. They make you a main meal and give you a glass of wine based on your pick.
How awesome is that? Such a cool concept! Here's a pic of the Wine and Food Experience below.
Here's what you get...
- Sauvignon Semillon 2016 with Smoked Trout Terrine
- Chardonnay Unoaked 2017 with Ceviche
- Merlot 2017 with Chicken Caesar Salad
- Syrah Grand Duc 2015 with 'Rugby Snack'
- Semillon Sauvignon Grand Duc 2015 with Chicken Legs
- Shiraz Vigneron's Selection 2016 with Rump Steak
What's great is that you get to sample everything, see what you fancy and then pick a main course that you know you'll enjoy. What's not great is that you can expect to wait FOREVER to make up your mind. My sister and I struggled! (Life is SO hard, isn't it?) 🙂
In the meantime, we got to have a quick squizz at the cellar... Here, we met Zinaschke Steyn - the assistant wine maker, and man, she knows her stuff! She's so passionate about their wines and it was so easy to get wrapped up in her excitement about them.
Unfortunately, they (the winemakers) had a rough time in February with a completely unexpected hailstorm that caused havoc on the vines. It meant an abrupt start to the harvest and an extremely tiring battle to pick grapes at lightening speed. But, it worked out okay in the end because the wine seems to be doing very well!
The cellar was quite impressive...
After the tour of the cellar, we headed back to the tasting room for our main course.
My sister decided on... the Chicken Legs and the Semillon Sauvignon Grand Duc 2015 (see below). The dish is essentially Crumbed chicken drumsticks, with a potato mash and a butternut puree. The puree is quite sweet and the little side dish contains a mustard sauce - the combination pairing nicely with the citrus wine. She loved it!
I decided on...The Chicken Caesar Salad and Merlot 2017 (see below).
I'll admit, it perhaps doesn't look too exciting. But it's packed with loads of flavour. The salad contains Bacon, chicken, croutons, spinach, anchovies, a yum dressing, Parmesan cheese and a fried egg on top. The saltiness of the dish brought out the spiciness of the Merlot and so I thought it paired very nicely together. (I wanted to finish the whole dish but could not squeeze it all in!)
DP then decided to treat us with a dessert which is not usually part of the experience (I know, right - who IS this guy?) My sister and I shared this delicious cassata-type dessert as we were SO full by this stage 🙂
We then ended the day off with a lovely glass of the Grand Duc Noble Late Harvest. I quite liked it, because it didn't have that typical thick syrupy flavour that can sometimes be a bit much. It was still quite light and refreshing when served chilled, like it was.
All in all, we had a lovely time! I honestly think this is one of the coolest Food and Wine experiences I have ever had! The only thing I'd change is to perhaps have the option to NOT pick a main course. Like say for example, you just wanted the pairing. For someone like me who is indecisive when it comes to food, I felt like I perhaps would have had the whole pairing again, instead of choosing one dish to have as a main course. However, picking your favourite and then getting a meal out of it is all part of the appeal and I have never come across anything quite like it before.
You can visit for your own experience too. They offer the Palette Experience every day from 11:00am to 16:00pm, except on Wednesdays. You do have to make sure you book in advance though, as places are limited.
Contact: +27 (0)218762044
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com
Address: Robertsvlei Road, Franschhoek,
Star Rating: *****
(I am already planning on returning)
Note: I was invited to visit GlenWood by Pippa from On the Marque PR & Communications and thus everything I received was complimentary. This review is thus solely based on this specific experience.