Over the festive season we decided to take a drive through the winelands, we weren’t actually looking to taste wine so we stopped in at the Lion Park in Klapmuts. They have 35 cats there including two tigers and a few white lions. It is set up almost like a national park rather than a zoo and you have to really look for the lions lounging under the trees. But they are spectacular beings, king of the jungle, my favourite animal. The tigers are really amazing too.
Anyway, afterwards we thought we would try and find somewhere with a picnic vibe or just a cheese plate afternoon snack and so ended up heading to Boschendal. A farm we usually avoid because of its touristy-ness, having said that I have heard rave reviews about the picnics and restaurant.
We didn’t eat on that side of the farm, but the picnic area is beautiful under the trees and I would definitely go back sometime. On this occasion we headed across to the other side of the farm where the wine shop and tasting room are. I love all the Cape Dutch houses and the heritage you feel when you drive in. It is one of the oldest farms in the Cape, founded in 1685. The wine tasting bar counter is at the base of a massive tree and the tables all lie under the branches, so when the weather is fine, like it was so often over the festive season, it is a great spot.
Overall, it is a beautiful place and well worth a visit, personally on the wine tasting side we were not overly impressed. You can only taste the entry level wines, none of the premium wines are available to taste which was a bit disappointing. Their prices are actually quite reasonable which is also surprising that you can’t taste the reserves etc. The entry level wines are fine, your standard good quality entry level, but the highlight of our wine tasting experience actually ended up being the delicious cheese board from Dalewood Fromage. And also the Grande Cuvee Brut 2007 MCC (which is really good – sweet and dry), but is an extra fee to taste. The Le Grand Pavillon Brut Rosé Non Vintage was also a really nice MCC tasting more dry, floral and pinkish.
The 1685 Sauvignon Blanc was probably the second favourite of the day, it smells amazing and has lovely peaches, pineapple and greenery on the palate. The 1685 Chardonnay Pinot Noir is nice and light for summer, with sweet earth and fruit flavours. The Blanc de Noir smells like rose syrup and looks like red cooldrink, so if you like your sweet rosés, this one is for you. The Le Bouquet you can smell straight away is a dessert wine, although it is quite light and enjoyable considering the sweet fruit palate. A perfect pair for the cheese board.
It was a really hot day, so probably my own fault for choosing to taste reds, but warm red wine on a hot day is never going to go down that well, they could have perhaps served a bit chilled. For this reason I didn’t enjoy the Lanoy (Cab Sav/Merlot blend), it was quite metallic. The 1685 Merlot was quite enjoyable, light and fruity with very subtle wood spice. The 1685 Shiraz and the 1685 Shiraz Cabernet Sauvignon are quite similar in taste although I preferred the Shiraz with its ripe tannins and white pepper flavours. All were pleasant, easy drinking reds.
You can’t really fault the wines of a 300 year old farm, the ones we tasted were all enjoyable easy drinking wines at reasonable prices. And it was quite a lovely afternoon under the giant trees and next to the perfectly manicured lawns.
I almost forgot the cheese board – Not sure what the hard cheese was, but it was delicious. The wild mushroom cheese was as smooth as soft butter and quite lovely. Camembert was amazing, so too was the delicious brie with green figs. The blue cheese was not strong at all, yum yum yum!
If you are with a tour bus, Boschendal is a beautiful farm and you will certainly enjoy yourself, but if you are in your own car and looking for a wine tasting, I would maybe rather stop at a smaller farm. Certainly stop for lunch and a cheese board and maybe even buy some wine at Boschendal, but tasting experience, I would pick a smaller farm – personal preference.
Pniel Road, R310 between Stellenbosch and Franschhoek
Tel: +27 21 870 4210
Tel: +27 21 875 5725