The joys of reds at Nederburg – and a burger on the side

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NEDERBURG in Paarl is steeped in history that stretches back to 1791, with stories honoured and immortalised in the Heritage Heroes range of wines. You can read further on the website and learn more at the Visitors’ Centre; today I’ll be sharing my visit from a couple of weeks back.

The wines, many of them award-winning, are extensive, with prices between R75 and R505, from Sauvignon Blanc to Noble Late Harvest. A tasting of any five from the list is R70, offset against purchases of R500 or more. If you already know what you like, order a bottle to drink on the lawn or under the currently nude oak trees. I find bare branches most appealing but they’ll soon move into their next realm of beauty as spring approaches.

I’m not going to pretend I was anything other than a VIP guest (perks of the job) so I was allowed the exceptional treat of tasting all the (available) reds I fancied. These included the top tier Ingenuity Italian and Spanish blends, as well as Two Centuries Cabernet Sauvignon. The significance of these fine wines of various vintages is not lost on me, but I’m also a fan of the affordable Baronne (nothing wrong with it, it’s my go-to at Hussar), and was delighted to be able to nab the very last bottle of the 2018 Cab Sav (now you’ll get the 2019).

The day was warm-ish, a bit sunny, a bit cloudy, still good for sitting outside The Manor overlooking the expansive lawn where there was a lovely casual wedding going on. Guests were throwing rugby balls around (one older gentleman could catch like a star but his throw was rubbish, shame), cheering loudly at giant Jenga games (I’m still not sure if the collapse indicates a win or a loss as either way everyone seems rather jolly), and that other one where you toss a beanbag in a hole. There was a basket of boules for pétanque, one of the most civilised pastimes I know of, as one can play with a glass of wine in one hand. In fact, I think it’s in the rules.

Looking ahead to summer, Nederburg does an amazing picnic for R460 for two – including a bottle of sparkling wine. Have a look at the menu on the website, it appears to be great value for money and we all need that right now.

Breakfast is served until 11.30am, and there are all-day sharing options, perfect for grazing with a bottle of wine, when you have all the time and not a care in the world. The main menu has plenty to tempt, and I was attracted to the sous vide line fish with scored squid tubes, cauliflower florets, smoked spring onions and lemon butter sauce, but since I’d committed to the red wine, I ordered the burger.

“Just a burger” one might say, but when it comes with all the best accompaniments – bacon, brie cheese, guacamole – and the hefty patty is spiced lamb, it’s so much more than “just”. The potato wedges were spectacularly good, which is why they get their own pic…golden on the outside, soft and fluffy on the inside.

Since it was all about the reds that day, I had the cheesecake with Cabernet Sauvignon coulis to finish, with a mug (not a cup, a proper mug but on a saucer) of rooibos tea. The components of a cheese and charcuterie platter were packed up for me to snack on later with the leftover wine. Not-sweet endings are available too: cheesy nibbles with a glass of Noble Late Harvest.

What a superb afternoon at this iconic estate. I do hope you get a chance to visit. Perhaps on Steak Thursdays, when for lunch or dinner, for R180 per person, you get a steak and a glass of award-winning red wine. The Manor’s juicy A-grade aged ribeye is served with red wine onion jus, salted potato wedges and chimichurri roasted baby root vegetables, while creamed peppercorn or forest mushroom sauce can be ordered as optional extras.

Trading hours: Mondays to Sundays (except Tuesdays when The Manor is closed), 9am to 4pm; Thursdays 10.30am to 9pm. Pre-booking is recommended, especially for tables close to roaring fireplaces. Make your reservation by contacting The Manor on 021 877 5155 or [email protected] and when doing so, inform the team of any allergies and dietary requirements.

Sonstraal Road, Dal Josafat, Paarl, Western Cape. Call 021 862 3104, email [email protected]

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PHOTO CREDIT: Bianca Coleman ©

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