Out of the many wine farms in the Franschhoek area, a standout one to visit, and a personal favourite of mine, is Haute Cabrière. If you have ever tasted their Chardonnay Pinot Noir or Pierre Jourdan Tranquille, you’ll understand why I recently had to trace these fine wines back to their source at the winery lying high up on Franschhoek Pass.
The story of Haute Cabrière goes back to 22 December 1694, a time when French Huguenot Pierre Jourdan, a native of the town Cabrière in France, was granted a piece of land of what is now Franschhoek. Fast forward roughly 300 years to the early 1980’s where Achim von Arnim, then Cellar Master at Boschendal, bought a part of the land where he planted the noble Chardonnay and Pinot Noir varieties – a nod to the world-famous wines produced in the Champagne region of France. A few years later he purchased another piece of land in Franschhoek, proceeded to plant more vines and build a beautiful cellar on the mountain. This is now Haute Cabrière, opened 22 December 1994, precisely 300 years after that day Pierre Jourdan was granted that land in Franschhoek.
To this today, the winery is a jewel of Franschhoek best known for it’s wines; MCC, sabrage (you can even buy an Haute Cabrière saber here) and food. Now, about that restaurant…
Haute Cabrière’s Cellar restaurant produces terrific dishes best paired with a number of the estate’s wines, complemented with an amazing view overlooking Franschhoek and surrounds. A roaring fireplace awaits for those dark and rainy Franschhoek afternoons (yet still beautiful), and the outside terrace offers panoramic views of the valley.
It’s the kind of place where the menu lives up to the wines, and our flirtings with the menu on the day included the following pairings:
Roasted red pepper and tomato soup with oregano creme fraiche paired with a Pierre Jourdan Tranquilla 2015.
Grilled Tuna nicoise with green beans, concentrated tomatoes, sautéed potato, pitted olive, poached eggs and pickled anchovy dressing paired with an Haute Cabrière Unwooded Pinot Noir 2014.
Pork belly and scallops – oven roasted pork belly, bacon-wrapped scallops, mushroom ragout, Ratafia and pea velvet paired with an Haute Cabrière Pinot Noir Reserve 2012.
Amarula mousse, white chocolate and olive oil crumble, homemade marshmallow and strawberry sorbet paired with a Pierre Jourdan Belle Rose.
Haute Cabrière is a family-run affair, and we had the honour of lunching with Takuan von Arnim, son of founder Achim von Arnim. A man who is steering Haute Cabrière into the next generation with his invaluable international experience in wine from working in cellars and vineyards in Germany, France and Australia. The farm is growing from strength to strength and their wine is really going places – including a bottle of their Pinot Noir Reserve 2012 that will be keeping a permanent residence at my home!
Insider tip: Haute Cabrière have just released their 2015 vintage of Chardonnay Pinot Noir – grab a few bottles for the future.
Where R45, Franschhoek
Contact + 27 21 876 8500, www.cabriere.co.za