THERE are so many reasons to visit Hazendal in Stellenbosch’s Bottelary region, from the Russian tea ceremony to the open-air Pivnushka beer garden, from the Marvol Gallery to the classic car collection, from the Babushka Deli to Wonderdal edutainment centre for children, and jazz events like the one happening on Friday, March 26 at 6pm – a concert and a picnic.
From April, there is a new reason: the sensory pairing experience, an innovative and creative way to taste Hazendal’s wines accompanied by delicious mini dishes presented in a unique manner.
For you, the affair includes a guided discovery of Hazendal’s contemporary wine cellar, followed by the pairing in the elegant underground Wine Library.
“The Wine Library experience begins with a glass of elegant Méthode Cap Classique in the Wine Lounge, before knowledgeable guides lead guests on a tour through the state-of-the-art wine cellar. Along the way, guests will learn more about the unique terroir of the Bottelary Hills and the rich winemaking heritage of the estate, as well as the remarkable rejuvenation currently underway in our vineyards.
“Then, step into the Wine Library for an expert tutored tasting of Hazendal’s current releases. Winemaker Clarise Sciocatti-Langeveldt follows a minimalist approach in the cellar, focusing on site, cultivar and fruit expression across both the flagship Hazendal range, and the trio of releases in the Christoffel Hazenwinkel range.
“During the wine tasting, guests are able to pair each wine in the portfolio with an inspired tasting portion created by executive chef Michélle Theron. These bite-size tasters are created to enhance and complement the wines, and are presented on a striking ceramic tower created specifically for the Wine Library experience by a local artist.”
For the small group of media invited to preview this, we also had a tour of the Homestead, a stunning accommodation which has been restored to modern glory while paying homage to its past with period furniture and art. Day visitors can take a wander around when it’s unoccupied.
Down in the Wine Library, we were confronted with curious glass towers resting on a ceramic base. Obviously I couldn’t wait to be told what to do, so I immediately dismantled it and discovered each level of the tower contained a different food course which was to be paired with its wine.
While months of hard work went into creating these pairings, Michelle and Clarice could well change things between then and now, so I’ll give you a couple of examples and let you discover the rest when you visit.
Crowning the tower was a corn blini with mango salsa and a poached prawn; the wine was Semillon/Sauvignon Blanc 2018. Once that was removed, a snoek bon bon followed, with 2017 Chenin Blanc. And so on, down to the bottom, which contained a dark chocolate gateaux with an espresso and caramel sable and chocolate opaline, paired with the 2017 Pinotage.
The chef and the winemaker were of course present because, well, media but while they chatted with the guests, the Wine Library staff were also on hand to offer informed opinions and information. Best of all, it wasn’t intimidating and questions were welcomed. You can be fancy and you can enjoy yourself at the same time.
The Wine Library tour and tasting lasts for about two hours. A maximum of 20 guests can be accommodated at a time, and prior reservation at least 24 hours in advance is essential. The complete experience, including welcome drink, guided tour, wine tasting and pairing portions, costs R680 per person. They say “bite-size” tasters, but it all adds up to a proper meal. There’ll always be that guy who wants to smash a burger afterwards, but what can you do? Head to Babushka Deli maybe. And in case you’re wondering, the owners of Hazendal are Russian.
The pairing experience is available twice a day Tuesdays to Fridays at 10am and 2pm, and on Saturdays and Sundays a single session at 10am. Bookings are available from Tuesday April 6, 2021. For more information, and to book, contact [email protected], and for more information on all Hazendal has to offer, click here.