Nothing really beats sharing a bottle of good wine around a crackling fire with good company. Here are the best wine farms to visit this winter which offer comfort and warmth for guests.
Glen Carlou, Paarl
Kick back on massive leather couches in front of a magnificent modern fireplace with a warming glass of red. Glen Carlou makes some big wines, perfect for cold weather – Zinfandel and a Petit Verdot Tannat. Even the Pinot Noir – a traditionally light bodied red – is hearty whilst still being manageable enough to drink during the day. Their “Welder” is a naturally sweet Chenin Blanc – another highly appropriate winter companion. If the sun’s out, you can warm up on the restaurant’s terrace overlooking Paarl’s valley.
When their restaurant reopens in late July, the under floor heating will add reinforcement to any of their wines for the purpose of warming the cockles. As will the old-fashioned stove in the tasting room; you’ll be able to conjure up the Italian sunshine with a glass of their Barbera. Tucked away under the leafiness that is Tygerberg Valley Road, this little winery is a perfect place to nip off to – especially if it’s too cold to leave the City of Cape Town.
A modern and swanky tasting room with a huge fireplace greets Mulderbosch visitors. The vibe here is more urban than rustic. Their wood-fired pizza is a great reason to head down – besides the wine, of course. Mulderbosch does a popular Chenin Blanc “Steen op hout” – that is, a wooded Chenin – and a very elegant Bordeaux blend, the Faithful Hound. Not conventionally wintery, but their Sauvignon Blanc is a stunner. It’s open until 6pm every day apart from Mondays, so plenty of time to spend in the lazy chairs.
Where Mulderbosch, Polkadraai Road, Stellenbosch
Contact +27 21 881 8140, [email protected]
Spice Route, Paarl
Fairview may have all the cheese, but the Spice Route is a bustling hive of all things foodie. Visit the DV Artisan Chocolate shop for hot chocolate and then visit the Grapperia for a shot of the strong stuff by the fire. There’s a restaurant and even a glass blower; the Barley and Biltong beer house adjoins the brewery where CBC and Jack Black are brewed. I scored all their wines – deliciously paired with cured meats – 4 out of 5, or above. The Malabar stole prize position, though: an exotic mixture, of Shiraz, Mouvedre, Petite Sirah, Grenache and Tannat.
The last time I went to Tokara wasn’t actually to drink wine. Tired, after a long day of wine tasting, I needed heat, caffeine and sugar levels replenished. I found myself at Tokara’s Delicatessen, by a huge fireplace and confronted with an impressive cake selection. The sleek and spacious building, encased in glass, let’s you look out onto the grounds of the estate: where you will also find modern art sculptures dotted around. The main restaurant is impressive and so is their wine. Try their 2012 Shiraz for a delicious fireside number.