I had been wanting to visit Neethlingshof for ages to try out this Flash Food and Wine Pairing. Two of my most favourite things together! We invited my sister and her husband along for our adventure. (They got to have the food and wine pairing for free, because they have a Cellar Door Collection Passport. In this booklet, you can upgrade to a paired tasting voucher, which they did. You can find out more information about it here. I think it's a great idea - we used our own one last year).
Neethlingshof was originally named De Wolvedans (The Dance of Wolves). In 1788, Charles Marais and his wife, Maria, took over the farm. Maria was the person responsible for getting the estate ready to make their own wine. She was widowed quite young, so in 1828, when her daughter married Johannes Henoch Neethling, he became joint owner of the farm, and the name was changed to Neethlingshof. The restaurant (seen in the picture above), is inside a really beautiful Cape Dutch-style house that was built in 1814.
The estate itself is absolutely stunning! You could wander around the garden for ages. Here are two pictures of the garden below.
When we visited the estate, it was a particularly hot day, and so it was nice that the tasting room was inside, and also nice and cool. Here are pictures of the tasting room below.
The Flash Food and Wine Pairing (see below) was a really great experience! It costs R90, which I feel was quite reasonable. We had great service too, which obviously makes the experience even more enjoyable. (I have been to Neethlingshof before, just for the normal wine tasting, and also had very good service then too).
The Food and Wine combinations are as follows (wine notes taken from Neethlingshof):
First, we had a tasting of Sauvignon Blanc. It is a well-balanced, fruity and slightly acidic wine with a lingering aftertaste. It pairs well with a light starter. We had a very tasty salmon roulade appetiser, with a strip of salmon wrapped around a salmon mousse. The lemon served with it complimented it well.
Second, we had a tasting of Gewürztraminer (which I am still trying to pronounce correctly). It is off-dry, fruity and floral with hints of spice and litchi. I really loved this wine - we even bought a bottle. It pairs well with fragrant curries and sweetish-savoury dishes like bobotie or samoosas. We had a vegetable samoosa which was served with a spicy mango atchar (pickled and curried fruit).
Third, we had a tasting of Malbec. It is a smooth, red wine with flavours of berry, plum and liquorice. It pairs nicely with beef dishes and flavourful soups. We had a barbeque chicken kebab, which was really nice and tender. I suppose it would pair better with a beef kebab, but the barbeque flavours of the chicken one came through really nicely.
Fourth, we had a tasting of the Owl Post Pinotage. It has flavours of stewed plums, raspberries, cherries and mocha. It was also really nice! It pairs well with meat dishes too, but goes extra well with a bit of added sweetness and spice. We had a mini prego roll with roast beef. It had chocolate shavings on top of the beef, which sounds weird, but it did compliment the wine nicely.
Lastly, we had a tasting of the Caracal, which is a Bordeaux blend. It is a smooth wine with flavours of prune and blackcurrants and scents of vanilla and cherry on the nose. It pairs well with something sweet and a touch of something bitter. We had a little portion of malva pudding with a liquorice reduction. This was a great way to finish the tasting.
Neethlingshof does a very similar tasting in the winter months. The only difference is the first pairing. Instead of a Sauvignon Blanc, you get a Chenin Blanc wine tasting. And instead of the salmon roulade, you get sundried tomato soup. (We'll have to go back for this!)
They also do a kiddies pairing, which is such a great idea for parents who just want to chill. Here, your kids can have a mini chicken pancake, paired with white grape juice; a mini cheese burger, paired with red grape juice; and, a chocolate sponge finger, paired with chocolate milkshake.
OVERALL RATING (Based on a food and wine pairing experience): 85%
Food: 85% - Although the food was really great, you can buy it yourself from Woolworths. It would perhaps be nice to have appetisers that are unique to the estate. However, they paired very well with the wines and a lot of care went into the presentation.
Wine Selection: 90% - I thought the selected wines showed off the estate well, and you got a decent portion. We also got a complimentary glass of wine. The wines themselves are really great too!
Service: 85% - The lady serving us was good - friendly, knowledgable and attentive. However, when we went to pay, the two men at the till were a bit off - possibly due to the fact that they were very busy.
Ambiance: 80% - The ambiance is nice - sort of cellar-like. It's cool inside and has beautiful paintings of the owl and caracal from their wines. However, I always like a bit of a view and so I'd like it to be a bit more light and open.
Would I go back? Yes. I have already been to the estate a few times. It is a really enjoyable day out. I'm also keen to have the winter food and wine pairing!
Contact: 021 883 8988
Address: Polkadraai Road, Stellenbosch, 7600