Should you ever find yourself in the Franschhoek Wine Valley in the Western Cape of South Africa, drop everything you are doing and go to Boschendal Wine Estate. I’ll show you why.
It is one of those places that never leave your heart. It is arguably one of the best wine estates that I have been to.
There is so much to do from visiting their restaurants, their Warf Butchery and the Boschendal organic farm. At their butchery, you get a taste of Biltong (a famous South African snack made from dried and flavored meat.
That day we knew that we would be walking for long distances and we wore flat shoes. I love wine tours because aside from meeting with different people, I get to taste wine and learn the story of where it comes from. The weather was perfect. Crisp and breezy with a little bit of warmth from the sun that tried to peek through the clouds.
You know those days when you wake up, look outside and absolutely know that it is going to be a great day? Well, That day I knew. After a hearty breakfast, I picked up my backpack and headed to the bus that was waiting to take us to the Franschhoek Wine Valley.
I found myself in the Western Cape for my work as a wine writer. Although the previous night we had had late dinner, I did not sleep for one bit during the ride and I was looking outside the whole time.The Western Cape of South Africa is a magical place. A place of fertile soils, beautiful wildflowers and rolling hills. The eye can never tire from looking at all this beauty.
Food & Sparkling Wine Pairing
I knew this day would be amazing but I did not know that it would be this grand. You know that people are putting their best foot forward when you find a food and sparkling wine pairing. We were trying the MCC’s (Method Cap Classique/ the sparkling wine from South Africa). Champagne only comes from France and MCC is the term that South African wine uses to distinguish its sparkling wine.
We tried three wines, each paired with some food. We tried the Boschendal Grand Cuvee Brut, the Prestige Cuvee, the Brut and the Brut Rose.
The tasting was perfect. However, we did not have large plates of food as you would in normal wine tastings. We had our food in very tiny bowls. Each had about two spoonfuls of food. This got us to really interact with every dish as well as try every pairing.The winemaker was there to explain all their wines.
After the session, we went to their open-air restaurant and had some juicy sliders. Thinking about them today makes my mouth water.
What I love about this wine estate is that they source every fresh produce that they use in their restaurants from their organic farm. This was an extensive farm. The farm was alive with bees and birds. They also had piglets and chicken on the farm. We got to see how they farm their carrots, lettuce, tomatoes, green beans among other fresh produce. They do not use any fertilizers and rely heavily on compost and manure. When you order a salad at this restaurant, you know it is organic and fresh and you have a view of the farm as you enjoy it.
We then learned sabrage which is the art of opening a Champagne/ sparkling wine bottle with a sword or blade. It is common among wine lovers and it is always impressive when you successfully saber that bottle during a celebration. We were briefed that the sparkling wine in a bottle has millions of bubbles that produce so much pressure. This is why the wine cork can fly for many meters.
You are always urged to be extra careful when doing this. What you do is hold the bottle firmly with your left hand (or less dominant hand) and then with your dominant hand, run the blade through the weakest point of the bottle. You will always know what the weakest part of the bottle is because there is a line of weakness running from the mouth to the punt of the bottle. This is where the glass was joined during bottle making.
This is where you run the blade gently. After some tries, run the blade of the knife of sword firmly and the cork will fly away. The wine will froth on your hands, but you will be happy you just did it.
Did I mention that you should never face the cork towards you or anyone? Most times, the bottle will break at the neck. However, do not be afraid of little glass shards entering your wine. Because of this high pressure, any glass shards are thrown out at high speed. Next, serve your wine and make a toast.
This was an incredible experience. We then went back to the restaurant and had more wine as the sun went down.