**Disclaimer: I was hosted at Blaauwklippen Wine Estate‘s expense in exchange for this review on the experience. My view is unbiased and reflects the my opinion on my stay on the farm and not that of the winery**
Situated in the bustling town of Stellenbosch lies the lush and beautiful winery of Blaauwklippen. An estate that is shaped by 300 years of commitment to quality winemaking and passion. The farm was founded in 1682 by Gerrit Jansz Visser, but it wasn’t until 1688 that the first vineyards were planted in the fertile soil of the estate. Fast forward to 1899, when Cecil John Rhodes became the owner of Blaauwklippen, but only for one day! In 1971 the renowned Stellenbosch Wine Route was founded, with Blaauwklippen becoming one of the first members. The Route is still going strong today as one of the biggest tourist attractions in the Western Cape.
By 1977 the very first Zinfandel grapes were planted on Blaauwklippen, with the first wines produced three years later. By 1977 the very first Zinfandel grapes were planted on Blaauwklippen, with the first wines produced three years later. Blaauwklippen became the first winery outside of the USA to join ZAP (Zinfandel Advocates and Producers) in 2008. And in 2015 Blaauwklippen Vineyards celebrated 333 years of establishment.
The Blaauwklippen Blending Competition was founded in 1984 and over 30 consecutive years later remains the only wine competition in South Africa aimed at consumers and not producers. In the tasting room next to the deli you will find blending kits for purchase. The perfect gift for the wine geek in your life (or yourself).
My stay on the farm kicked off with a wine tasting consisting of their renowned Zinfandel, White Zinfandel, Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, and their delicious MCC crafted from their maiden varietal, the Zinfandel of course. My favourite out of the tasting selection would have to be the phenomenal Malbec and the delectable MCC. The Cab. Sauv. is in a league of its own too! With classic notes of eucalyptus and bell pepper on the palate. A typical award-winning Stellenbosch Cabernet Sauvignon.
What followed was a tour of the famed manor house to refresh the senses and the legs. Each and every room had a luxurious airiness with an opulent aesthetic, I couldn’t help but wonder what it must be like to stay in the some R40 000 a night large manor house. My favourite room? You guessed it, the kitchen! A kitchen made of dreams, envisioning many days of meal preparation spent feeling like domestic goddess Nigella Lawson.
Blaauwklippen takes pride having something available for everyone to indulge in. Not much of a wine consumer? Try their craft gin range and do a gin and nougat pairing. The tasting consists of three different types of gin, paired with three different flavours of locally crafted nougat to perfectly match the flavours that each gin holds. The pairing is R135 per person. I particularly loved the Zin Gin. The Zinfandel juice infused gin is rested for up to three months before diluted with Reverse osmosis water is added to reduce to bottling strength. Vapour infusion is seen as a more superior method than steep and boil since botanicals do not over-boil. The vapour slowly extracts the delicate flavour or essential oils of these botanicals to form the Gin. On the palate, you will find sweet red berries with cranberry juice, dry piny Juniper and tea-like tannins which reminds me of Christmastime and mince pies. The Gardin Gin is a typical dry gin with hints of orange zest and floral accents. I can definitely see myself sipping on this throughout summer. The Farm Gin, the last in the juniper berry laced trio, shows bursts of wild fig, pink peppercorn with slightly sweet and silky smooth herbal and floral notes. Really balanced and pairs well with the pecan nut nougat. I absolutely adore the fresh floral designs on each bottle.
Friday nights at Hamm & Uys are quite the occasion, with pizza being the star of the show. Every Friday evening the farm-based restaurant hosts a pizza evening with live music as entertainment for the hungry hoards. Pizza is made fresh in-house in their wood-fired oven with delicious seasonal toppings. Why Hamm & Uys? I LOVE the aesthetic and of course, the delicious offerings they have on their menu, such as the generous serving of mussels served in a beautiful dutch oven with roosterkoek to mop up the white zinfandel laced juices! The beef burger with crispy wedges and roasted marrow bone is the ultimate! I enjoyed my pizza and burger with the winery’s unforgettably delicious Malbec.
The indulgent evening ended with a good night’s rest in our luxe cottages on the beautiful farm. Our Saturday morning proved to be a busy one starting with a short walk to the magical glass cathedral in the already sweltering 30 degrees C Stellenbosch heat. To fuel our next adventure we had an MCC and Almond Biscotti pairing in the shade followed by my brave yet really long attempt at sabrage. We were met by Viticulturist Jaco van der Westhuizen who graciously fielded our novice wine questions and showed us through the lush vineyards ready to be harvested soon.
A scrumptious breakfast spread was set up in the beautiful manor house dining room.
Without reservation or bias, Blaauwklippen Wine Estate is a sensory experience to be taken in little by little, by staying over or visiting frequently. Family-friendly? Check! Wine enthusiast-friendly? Check! Craft gin enthusiasts? Check! Luxurious and comfortable accommodation? Check! Check! Delicious food on offer at resident restaurant Hamm & Uys? Check! Check! and check, please! I cannot wait to be back, whether it’s for the pizza evening’s or Sunday markets held every Sunday on the farm.
A massive thank you to the amazing team at Blaauwklippen for their warm hospitality.
To visit or make a booking:
- TASTING ROOM / CELLAR +27 (0)21 880 0133
- HAMM & UYS EATERY +27 (0)66 495 0270
- GENERAL ENQUIRIES +27 (0)21 880 0133
- OPENING HOURS Summer Times (1 October – 30 April) Mondays to Saturdays: 10h00 – 18h00 Sundays & Public Holidays: 10h00 – 17h00Winter Times (1 May – 30 September) Mondays till Saturdays: 10h00 – 17h00 Sundays & Public Holidays: 10h00 – 17h00
Information in this post about the winery is supplied by their website.