Having spent nearly an hour driving from Cape Town towards Paarl, you may start wondering whether you are going in the right direction. You approach the Huguenot toll gate, only to be told by your GPS to take a left off the busy N1, onto the inconspicuous 62A.
Just over a kilometre later, a robotic voice tells you to turn right onto a rather shabby dirt road, into what seems like the middle of nowhere. If you thought you were lost earlier, you are convinced of it now.
Your surroundings are scenic but unkempt. Certainly not what you would expect of a luxury estate.
Then you see it. An immaculately paved road, lined with proteas in full bloom, greets you as you approach a grand Cape Dutch manor nestled between thriving vineyards.
Almost immediately, you feel a sense of relief. Your concerns are alleviated as you realise that you were never lost to begin with. This is where you want to be. This is what you were looking for.
There is a sense of relief as you travel along the winding road towards the elegant white structure with its sprawling lawn and thatched roof. You have arrived.
This is Brookdale Estate Manor.
Looking at the flourishing vines, the perfectly manicured gardens, and the majestic manor house itself, it is hard to believe that all of this is relatively new. The current proprietor, Tim Rudd, acquired the property in 2016 with the vision of creating a world-class country estate along with the finest of wines.
A virus had decimated crops sometime prior, leaving only a single block of Chenin Blanc, as they would later learn, unscathed. In total, 67 hectares of alien vegetation and overgrown vines had to be cleared in order to plant vines and restore balance to the land.
Indigenous vegetation and gardens were then created alongside the vineyards.
Next came the elegant manor house, set against the dramatic backdrop of the Klein Drakenstein Mountains, that just seemed to belong in the tranquil setting.
At face value, everything from the Cape Dutch architecture to the rows of vines seems centuries old and well-established. However, it’s difficult to believe that all of this has taken less than a decade to develop.
Upon arrival at the manor house, you are greeted by friendly staff, an ice-cold glass of homemade iced tea and a moist towel to freshen up from the, by now, almost forgotten dirt road.
The palatial house is absolutely exquisite, featuring five en-suite bedrooms with a sixth in the adjacent building. There is ample space, including a lavish living room, library and entertainment room, dining room, study, breakfast room, and kitchen.
Outside, multiple terraces showcase panoramic views of the dramatic mountains and wine valleys, while the gardens, pool house, and pool terrace are the perfect spaces to enjoy the sunshine with a chilled glass of wine.
Brookdale’s General Manager, Yvonne Coetzee, said that she had watched the property evolve into what Rudd had initially envisioned, adding that there had been precious little on the premises only a few years ago.
“When I arrived, all of this had to be built and developed,” she said. “It’s taken some time but we have come a long way. We are incredibly proud of what we have achieved over a relatively short period of time, both in terms of our wines and the estate itself.”
“That feeling you get as you turn off the dirt road and see the manor house in the distance never gets old. I still get that same sense of comfort, tranquility, and awe every time it comes into view.”
Food and wine are integral parts of the Brookdale experience, and with good reason. Over a very short period of time, winemaker Kiara Scott has already gained plenty of international recognition by creating an array of fabulous wines, including the outstanding Serendipity Rose, the Mason Road range, and Brookdale’s acclaimed Chenin Blanc, produced from the only block of 35-year-old vines that was salvaged on the estate.
With a passion for her craft, Scott is one of only a handful of female winemakers in the country.
Her wines are the perfect accompaniment to a delectable five-course dinner, prepared according to guests’ dietary requirements, under the direction of Yvonne’s husband and executive chef, Gary Coetzee. With years of experience working in the kitchens of luxury lodges, Coetzee is an expert in his field, ensuring that every meal is created with finesse and attention to detail.
We were treated to a delectable dinner incorporating carefully sourced local ingredients, including a starter of kingklip tortellini with white wine cream and parmesan, followed by tandoori cauliflower, curried lentil salsa, and cumin curd.
While the main course of springbok sirloin with carrot puree, broccolini, fondant onions, fine beans, and a rosemary jus left little room for dessert, it was impossible to turn down the delicious tiramisu, coffee sauce, and Chantilly cream once it was delivered to the table.
Feeling completely satisfied and more than a little sleepy after an unbelievable meal, we retired to our suite for the evening, where a fluffy robe and slippers, complete with a sprig of lavender, had been thoughtfully left on the bed.
After a good night’s rest, we took to the local trails for an early morning run, and to watch the sunrise over the farm’s breathtaking landscape. The food, accommodation, service, and scenery were of the highest order at Brookdale, but it was that feeling of exclusivity that truly set the estate apart.
On our visit, we were one of only two couples in the manor; a fact that certainly encourages a sense of solitude and serenity. “We want our guests to stay curious,” added the GM. “We want them to feel at home and explore everything we have to offer. For example, our kitchen is open to all and guests are welcome to watch the chef preparing their meals at any point.”
Bookings can be made online at www.brookdale-estate.com or phone 076 400 0229 for more information.
Rates: From R3 480 pps
Pictures: Brookdale Estate
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