The Bottelary Wine region is one completely undiscovered gem that I have never experienced until I ventured off the N1 and took a gorgeous winding road completely transporting me through the produce filled fields, vineyard filled hills and cows grazing along the road. A few minutes drive along the iconic Bottelary road, we began ascending up the meandering dusty road to the gorgeous Mooiplaas farm.
Nestled up in the mountains, it’s bright luminescent canopies of the various oak trees shaded the venue to create the perfect atmosphere for a pop up lunch. Not just any pop-up lunch, the final one of the year hosted by the Stellenbosch Wine Route and staring Chef George Jardine and four other neighbouring wine estates.
The team at Mooiplaas was joined by their fellow Bottelary neighbours such as Kaapzicht, Hartenberg, Hazendal and Villiera to showcase and share their finest cellar gems. The lunch was originally marketed as a three-course feast however, this was one with a difference.
Lunch was set to kick off at 12:30 and as we arrived long tables set up in a chic country style allowed you to socialised with other guests enjoying the day. We sat opposite a German born butcher and his wife and bonded over wine from the region.
This of course would not be a successful event carefully curated by the Stellenbosch Wine Route if we weren’t greeted by the sound of popping MCC corks. We headed over to the welcome drinks table and got a choice of the finest that this special region has to offer.
“Bottelary Hills, one of five sub-routes of South Africa’s famous wine capital, is home to some of the oldest wine farms in the country and many of them have been nurtured over generations by the same families. As a result, they have an incomparable understanding of the terroir, which shows in the wines the region produces,” adds Elmarie Rabe, Stellenbosch Wine Routes Manager.
We of course started our wine(y) day with the host estate’s MCC wearing a Platters 2017 badge of honour. It was crisp and fresh, the perfect way to start this sensational Sunday luncheon.
We each grabbed a “professional wine tasters” starter kit – these really cool plates that allow you to hook your glass in, eat, socialise, that photographs etc without compromising holding your glass all afternoon…how AWESOME!
With a plate in hand and a glass dangling comfortably, we made our way over to the innovative socialising starter concept. Each wine estate hosted a small stall where they showcased their wines and prepared a complimentary bite sized treat. This allowed you to get to know the wine makers, ask questions and taste all that that region had to offer while not being chained to your seat through a five course wine paired taster course.
These were some of the treats on offer…WARNING…drooling may be caused due to the deliciousness we were treated to on the day…
Each Wine Estate stood nestled into each corner of the gardens and it was a great way to see the grounds and consort with like minded food enthusiasts while sipping and nibbling away.
After an hour or so we took our seats before being greeted by the amazing team who put this event together. It was lovely getting to hear from each wine estate and having them dispersed between the long tables to allow us to chat over a glass or two of their finest.
Wine makers often have the reputation of being a lot more reserved than they are ever given credit for and after a few brief words from the brain children behind each of the labels on offer, I could see Chef George Jardine and his team firing up their grills for a feast.
Celebrated and well-loved Scottish born Chef George Jardine has become a household name in the South African culinary world. Good food made well whilst respecting the region it comes from is top on this Chef’s list of a do’s for a good meal.
Main course was perfectly prepared by him and his team before he dashed off to the 2017 EAT OUT awards later that day as he has been nominated again, always taking his rightful place on the top 10 restaurant list yet again.
With a beer in hand, Mervyn Gers plates lined up and hungry guest’s, Chef George Jardine was definitely in his element.
The menu comprised of the following:
An interactive experience with the winemakers and each estate
FRESH TASTERS OF THE REGION:
Locally sourced dressed leaves, baby vegetables, seeded bread and aioli
Salt cured lamb, celeriac puree, salsa verde and roasted hazelnuts
A molten Chocolate Fondant with a sorbet
It was a truly enjoyable day out in the Bottelary region, I am excited to venture out there soon as the Summery weekends are upon us and everyone knows my favourite way to spend a weekend is making it a “winey” one haha.
There are no more events of this kind for the remaining of the year, however this will give you a good idea of the costs for the day.
Tickets to the Bottelary Hills Pop Up Lunch cost R550 per person and include a wine tasting prior to lunch and the ensuing three-course feast, served generously with glasses of estate wine paired with each course. Each guest also gets a bottle Bottelary Hills wine to enjoy at home too. Lunch gets underway at 12.30.
Booking is essential as seating is limited. To make a reservation www.wineroute.co.za or contact (021) 886 8275.
Although I was invited to experience this wonderful day along the Stellenbosch wine route, all the opinions and photographs are my own and taken for the purpose of this blog post to showcase the wine, food and ambience on the day.