Haute Cabrière is a delightful winery located on the hilly slopes overlooking the magnificent valley and bustling village of Franschhoek. Its history dates back to 1694 when French Huguenot, Pierre Jourdan settled here having being granted the land.
In 1982, the farm was acquired by Clos Cabriere Ltd headed up by the Von Arnim family led by charismatic father, Achim. Vineyards were replanted concentrating on the Burgundy and Champagne varietals, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Needless to say that the wines made here are variations in styles of wines based on these two specific grapes.
Since bottling their first wine in 1984, Haute Cabrière has produced excellent Pinot Noirs (including a recent unwooded version), a range of fine Cap Classiques and their well known and extremely popular Chardonnay and Pinot Noir blend.
Visiting the cellar is an experience in itself as they offer so many different tours, from personalised cellar tours by members of the Von Arnim family, to sumptuous breakfasts or tailor-made wine and food lunches and dinners served in their award winning restaurant.
Celebrating the recent appointment of chef Ryan Shell, a Pinot Noir Tasting menu has been introduced in the restaurant for winter and I went along to find out how it was.
The menu begins with the deliciously fruity Haute Cabrière Unwooded Pinot Noir 2011 which is paired with a lightly curried prawn consommé with pickled calamari, salted salmon and coconut cream. This was an interesting pairing as we initially thought when tasting the wine prior to the food being served, that it would be more suited to quaffing at sunset. We were proved wrong as Ryan had worked his flavours of the prawn consommé to match the youthfulness of the wine.
Next up was a pot of steamed mussels with a separate bowl of harrisa cream which Ryan paired with the delightfully rich and creamy Pierre Jourdan Belle Rosé MCC – which is made from Pinot Noir. This was a match made in heaven and for a few moments conversation stopped while guests savoured the appealing flavours!
Next up was Pinot Noir bacon and pea risotto with a mascarpone mousse accompanied by the Haute Cabrière Pinot Noir 2008. The Pinot Noir 2008 is the current vintage available and it continues to please with its delicate fresh fruity flavours of red cherry with subtle use of oak which worked wonderfully with the risotto.
The main course was garlic crusted loin of lamb, olive pomme purée, aubergine caviar, roasted cherry tomatoes and caramelised lime jus, served with an older vintage of Pinot Noir, the 1998. This wine proved how well the Pinots from this winery can mature. It showed a wonderfully soft yet rich elegance on the palate which lingered long after the first sip.
To finish, we had the decadent Pierre Jourdan Ratafia which is unique to this farm. Ratafia is a Chardonnay fortified with the estate potstill brandy. It was paired with a trio of Valrhona chocolate desserts and so good that there is not enough room to talk about the pleasure it brought!
The Pinot Noir menu is served on Fridays and Saturdays for dinner, and lunch on Saturdays and Sundays for R495 a person which includes all the wine.
All in all a great experience and I made sure I went home with a case of the Pinot Noir 2008 so that I can enjoy a few bottles now but also to keep some in the cellar for future indulgence.
Expect to pay: R157.50
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