It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that Nederburg once saved my life. Well OK, it would actually be a huge exaggeration, but the familiar wines certainly made my two years in South Korea infinitely more bearable. There – among bottles of cough syrup-sweet bottles of Korean blackberry wine, their harsh attempts at table wine and a few European bottles whose prices ended with too many zeros to count – was a trio of South African reds both very palatable and quite affordable.
So I’ve been meaning to pay a visit and express my gratitude ever since I got back to South Africa, and have finally got around to it. I have to say, I was impressed. Staff greet you with a complimentary glass of bubbly on entry and invite you to browse their small history museum or just snuggle by the fire. Their menu of tasting options is original and varied, ranging from standard tastings to mini burger pairings, brandy, coffee and biscotti tastings and the new mystery food and wine pairing – the option I was keen to test out.
Designed to plug the cold-sweat inducing voids between episodes of Masterchef SA, the tasting experience is part education, part gastronomy and part game – a perfect pairing in my eyes. Five mini portions of food are unveiled as you sit down, including a coronation chicken pie and a delectable mini malva pudding. The mystery part of the tasting refers to the wines, which are poured blind. No, that’s not right is it? That would make a terrible mess. Anyway – what I’m trying to say is that you don’t know what the wines are. You’re given a sheet to complete where you have to identify the wine and decide which pairs best with each dish. For the latter, of course, there are no steadfast answers – you’re meant to experiment with how the different flavours affect the wines on offer.
Booze, food and games (did I mention that your completed sheet gets entered into a prize draw to win wine goodies?) – what more could you ask of an afternoon in the Winelands?
Tel: 021 862 3104
The Mystery Tasting Experience is R85 per person.