And what about the wines themselves? The winery has four labels: Waterkloof (which consists of a single wine, a Sauvignon Blanc), Circle of Life (a red blend and a white blend that aim to encapsulate the biodiversity philosophy behind the farm), Circumstance, and lastly False Bay.
Visited a wine farm we’ve been meaning to visit for a while now: Waterkloof wines in Somerset West, set up on the Schapenberg mountain. As you turn in through the farm gates, it doesn’t look like anything to write home about, in fact the drive up initially seems a bit dishevelled and untidy. But then you hit the tarred road and a magnificent corridor of fynbos directs you up the mountain.
The architecture of the winery and restaurant are an arresting contrast to the mountainside. Very modern, like a lightbox hugging the hill, the angular industrial design of the building leaves you wondering – is this another self-indulgent design statement by some young anti-establishment upstart sitting in his plush urban architectural studio a million miles from Africa?
But then you enter, and the brilliance of the design hits you! The steel structure that supports the oversized ceiling-to-floor glass panes fades away and lets the magnificent vistas be the star of the show.
The interior is simple and elegant. The single space houses the tasting area, the restaurant and the cellar which is visible through the glass walls that divide the space. The wine tasting staff are young, friendly and knowledgeable.
We tasted the 2012 Waterkloof which whilst typically fresh and crisp, had good fruit and so avoided that acidic Sauvignon after-taste. Memorable from the Circle of Life range was the superb Chenin Blanc barrel fermented for 10 months and so had beautiful full-flavoured buttery notes (like an old style Chardonnay you now battle to find). Also enjoyed the lovely, interesting, palest rose: Cape Coral Mouvedre from the same range. We realised we had drunken a few bottles of the False Bay chenin blanc over Christmas (an unpretentious, fruity, easy to drink wine) but hadn’t realised it was part of the Waterkloof stable.
Since we were looking for a lunch restaurant we had a squizz at the menu, but this is not a grab-a-light-lunch kind of place so we filed it for future use. Their market is more the dedicated gastronome, or at least the person who has set a day aside to appreciate the artistry of this menu.
As they say in retail, this should be a destination lunch venue, not somewhere you would hope to grab a bite to eat whilst passing through…. as we were.