August 17

9 (Unconventional) Wine Pairings to Try in Cape Town

August 17, 2018

Don’t underestimate your glass of wine – it’s capable of a whole lot more than enhancing the flavour of that tiny block of cheese. In fact, it’s a little-known truth that every wine pairs remarkably well with a variety of relaxing pastimes. Thanks to Cape Town’s topnotch wine estates, you can find both exquisite wine and its complementary activity in one location. When you’ve grown bored of coupling your Sauvignon Blanc with Brie or your Pinot Noir with a piece of chocolate, try one (or several) of these unconventional wine pairings in Cape Town.

1. Pair a fireplace on a rainy day with Merlot at Nitida Wine Farm

Nitida Wine Farm
Photo Credit: Durbanville Wine Valley

This cosy farm on the Durbanville wine route is what winter days were made for. The only thing that will thaw your freezing body faster than a glass – okay, bottle – of their spectacularly smooth Merlot is the glow from the crackling fireplace. If you can break away from the hypnotic spell of the flames, you’ll notice just how beautiful your surroundings are, from the vineyard itself down to the label embellishing your bottle (no, really, the labels are remarkably pretty). It’s one of the wine pairings you absolutely have to indulge in.

2. Pair a picnic with Sauvignon Blanc at Cape Point Vineyards

Photo Credit: ~ souTH AFRica ~

Wine and picnics have always been a pretty solid pairing. But never has a glass of white and a picnic complemented each other quite as beautifully as they do at the Cape Point Vineyards. It’s a wine farm experience with the added bonus of an ocean backdrop, and it is gorgeous. Take in the panoramic view of everything Cape Town is so loved for – mountains, fynbos, vineyards and sunset over the Atlantic Ocean – while sipping on their award-winning Sauv Blanc. Unbeatable, right? But this list of fabulous wine pairings is just getting started…

3. Pair a pristine view with an MCC at Beau Constantia

What’s an MCC, you ask? It’s simply a South African sparkling wine that’s made in the traditional French method – or Méthode Cap Classique. It’s essentially Champagne in everything but name (if you’re French, please don’t shout at me, I don’t make the rules). Now: let’s get to the important bit.

No amount of description will accurately do justice to the view of the Beau Constantia vineyard from the tasting room, what with a picture being worth a thousand words and all that. I won’t do a wordy write-up when I have a photo to do the work for me.

The view from the Beau Constantia tasting room
Photo Credit: Lesley Marchant

Now imagine that view complemented by some deliciously tart bubbles. Are you sold?

4. Pair a caving expedition with a crisp Rosé at Klein Roosboom Boutique Winery

A tasting room at Klein Roosboom
Photo Credit: Durbanville Wine Valley

Okay, it’s not quite a caving expedition, but there is a cave! The Klein Roosboom Boutique Winery in Durbanville has to have one of the coolest tasting rooms in the Cape. Each room is a private little alcove that will make you feel like you and your love interest are on a hot date for hobbits. Sitting on a swing inside a private cave pairs remarkably well with Rosé – and Klein Roosboom’s happens to be rather fabulous.

5. Pair a Jane Austen novel with Vin De Constance at Klein Constantia

The path to Klein Constantia
Photo Credit: ~ souTH AFRica ~

When Klein Constantia describes Vin De Constance as “the best sweet wine on earth”, they’re legitimately not tooting their own horn – this wine was Napoleon Bonaparte’s lifeblood, and regular consignments were shipped to Buckingham Palace for the King. There’s a reason Jane Austen wrote of Vin De Constance’s “healing powers on a forsaken heart” in Sense and Sensibility, and that Christian Grey drank it at a charity gala in the second book of E.L. James’ 50 Shades trilogy. The wine, quite simply, is magic, and pairs very well with your favourite fine literature – whatever that may be.

6. Pair fine art with Chenin Blanc at Delaire Graff

The entrance of Delaire Graff Estate
Photo Credit: South African Tourism

Of all the unconventional Cape wine pairings, this one has to be the most opulent. Laurence Graff’s private art collection is an impeccable showcase of some of South Africa’s most famous contemporary artists – and it’s right there on the Delaire Graff Estate in Stellenbosch. On display at the entrance is the painting that started Graff’s passion for art: Vladimir Tretchikoff’s original Chinese Girl. When you’ve been sufficiently blown away, take a look at the on-site boutique featuring glittering diamonds handmade in London by Graff’s own master craftsmen. Now sip your chilled Chenin. Murmur about a painting’s colour and composition. Maybe buy a diamond? This, after all, is the life of the rich and famous.

7. Pair craft market crawling with a spicy Shiraz at Spier

¿Qué esperas? Experimenta el vino y la vida salvaje
The Spier vineyards
Photo Credit: Spier

One of the Stellenbosch Wine Route’s most popular wineries has to be Spier. Aside from the fact that it’s beautiful, Spier’s vibrant, colourful craft market, located right on the steps of the tasting room, attracts travellers and locals alike. Talented South African artists, designers and makers work on their craft as you browse, making for a wonderfully immersive experience. Pick a precious trinket to take home as a reminder of the wine pairing to end all wine pairings.

8. Pair a history lesson with Cabernet Sauvignon at Vergelegen

The Vergelegen Estate homestead in Somerset West.
Photo Credit: Frans-Banja Mulder

One of the oldest wine farms in South Africa, Vergelegen is positively utopian for any history buff. Pair that history lesson with a woody Cab Sauv, and you’re basically an Oxford professor. In 1700, Governor William Adriaan van der Stel settled on a piece of land he named Vergelegen – which translates to “far away” from the Cape Town city centre. Van der Stel’s homestead remains perfectly and eerily preserved, and the story behind the estate’s foundation adorns the walls of the tasting room.

9. Pair a French accent with Pinot Noir at Haute Cabrière

The entrance to Haute Cabrière cellar
Photo Credit: Joe Ross

Thanks to the French settlers of centuries passed, Franschhoek today remains the Cape’s own corner of France – when you’re sipping your espresso on the cobbled sidewalk, you’d be forgiven for forgetting you’re in South Africa. The Haute Cabrière wine estate, overlooking the flawless Franschhoek valley, grows only two cultivars: Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. They’ve perfected the art of winemaking with these grapes, so you know the wine is going to be phenomenal.

Want to know more about the Cape Winelands? Take a look at A Tasting Guide to the Cape Winelands – South Africa and contact us to plan your tailor-made trip.

Feature Image Credit: Rhino Africa Image Bank



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About the author 

Lesley Marchant

Everything Lesley has done has been for the love of language – she studied journalism, spent a few years writing for magazines and followed her wanderlust to South Korea where she taught English. Don’t assume writing is her only talent – she’s also wildly skilled at pairing any reality show with the perfect glass of wine. When she’s not on the hunt for people to beat at her ever-growing collection of board games, she’s seeking beauty out in nature (a very easy pastime when you live in the world’s prettiest city).

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