– SPECTACULAR VIEWS & GREAT WINE!
This gem of a wine farm is right at the end of Annandale road. I actually always thought the farm’s name came from it’s position – hidden at the end of a beautiful valley, but in fact it is the owners who are the Hidden family.
It really is a beautiful part of the world. A cute little dam lies at the bottom of huge, majestic mountains, there is a lovely little nature trail which one can do with ease. Or if you would rather relax with a lovely glass of wine, the view from the tasting room and patio is spectacular. Hidden Valley is also host to one of the top ten restaurants in the country – Overture. It is so peaceful and tranquil out there (without being eery). I also love how they have made an effort to keep all the surrounding fauna and flora as indigenous as possible, with beautiful proteas, strelitzias and more.
Unfortunately our service wasn’t that great, it seemed like the wine tasting side were a bit under staffed and one of them got the chocolate pairings wrong amongst other things. We waited for ages to actually get our first tasting and we had those awful small glasses because they had apparently run out of the big ones. So, not ideal, but the setting and wines completely made up for it.
We had family with us from Durban (a not so experienced wine drinker), which lead to a lot of entertaining commentary on the wine… with aromas of pepper and tastes of gravel! I opted for the chocolate and wine tasting, and of course the chocolates were thoroughly enjoyed by ALL in pairing with their wines too. Hidden Valley has made a concerted effort to try pair the flavours of the wine and chocolates and in doing so have made their own chocolates with a interesting variety of truffle flavours. From coriander to cinnamon and a few others in between (check out the pairings below). There is also an olive and wine pairing, although we are not massive olive fans. They did however let my mom taste a few of the green and black ones to help her decide which ones to buy.
We noticed they also had a Viognier which we are seeing more and more often – surprising because most farms tell you they are ‘one of the few farms’, apparently there are not so few.
There is also a special at the moment – 3 bottles of the Hidden Secret 2008 for R300. Although we tasted the 2010 (see below), it was fantastic and we can imagine the 2008 is just as great if not better and so we bought a box of three for the wine rack. As you can see these (together with the other reds have a number of awards stickers on their bottles – well deserved!) I’ll have another post next time we enjoy one of these bottles with dinner.
A few wine (and chocolate) notes below…
HIDDEN VALLEY SAUVIGNON BLANC 2013 (White truffle chocolate with coriander filling)
This is a delicious Sav B, it is quite fruity with its melon, passion fruit and litchi flavours and smells just lovely. There is less of the grassy zest you usually find in a Sav B. I also agree with the tasting notes that there is a slight minerality to the wine too.
The chocolate, while unusual and herbal, actually proved to be a very good compliment to the wine.
HIDDEN VALLEY CHENIN BLANC 2012 (Milk truffle chocolate with cinnamon filling)
The family from Durban commented how this wine smelled like the sea air. It has spent about 8 months in oak, which gives it a slightly yellow colour. I definitely got the honeysuckle and apricot flavours, but found the wine to be quite tart and did not enjoy it that much. Having said that, this chocolate pairing was by far the best and actually improved the flavours of the wine with its spicy cinnamon filling (which was also quite interesting).
HIDDEN VALLEY VIOGNIER 2012 (Milk truffle chocolate with salt)
This varietal is definitely becoming more popular even though it often lacks a bit of flavour. This one in particular is very smooth, it smells like apricot pips, but is a little bland in taste. The salt chocolate definitely compliments and enhances the flavours and as always the wine is good with any food. The Durbanite thought it had a strong peppery taste, I also thought it was quite acidic and a little sharper than the usual vanilla notes.
HIDDEN VALLEY PINOTAGE 2011 (Coffee dark chocolate AND Orange chocolate)
This Pinotage has quite strong coffee aromas and yet not so strong on the palate but more fruity flavours with a coffee finish. Lovely aromatic plums, mulberries and blackberries together with spicy mocha flavours. It is a very good Pinotage and the chocolate pairing was also great.
HIDDEN SECRET 2010 (Shiraz & Tannat) (Dark chocolate with marzipan filling)
Rhone style Shiraz – A Mediterranean French blend of Shiraz and Tannat. It is very dark in colour, this comes from the Tannat influence. An excellent wine! It has rich plum aromas together with the spicy components. It is smoother than the Cab blend below and well deserving of the awards. Shiraz is definitely becoming one of our preferred varietals.
The marzipan chocolate was not great, but then again, marzipan is not everyone’s favourite.
HIDDEN GEMS 2010 (Cab Sauv & Petit Verdot) (Hazelnut truffle)
This wine has very earthy and metallic aromas typical of your Cab Sav. The Durbanite commented on it saying it tasted like a gravel road! It is definitely harsher than and not as smooth as the Hidden Secret, but as a Cab Sav should be, it is more robust and still very enjoyable with fruity, mineral and earth flavours. Not sure if the chocolate pairing was the most complimentary and we would have like a bit of an actual nut crunch in the Hazelnut truffle, it was rather a smooth chocolate. Great Cab blend though.
Some very good wines and a beautiful farm, I would like to go back to the restaurant and I am glad to say I now have some of their Secrets on my wine rack!
Off Annandale Road
Phone: +27 (0) 21 880 2646
S34 01 14.2 E18 51 12.9