Top Wine Tasting Tips: Franschhoek
The Franschhoek Valley is rich in history, lavish in landscape, and overflowing with world class wine and epicurean experiences.
At just under an hours drive from Cape Town, it’s no wonder that so many escape the city to explore, unwind, and wine and dine amid the spectacular Franschhoek scenery. The Franschhoek Valley is undoubtedly one of South Africa’s most exquisite destinations and offers some of the best wine tasting and dining experiences. This beautiful region is also South Africa’s leading Méthode Cap Classique (MCC) producing area, home to over 20 sparkling wine producers using this age old French fermentation process.
While there are an abundance of amazing experiences on offer in Franschhoek, we love nothing more that to arrange unique, intimate and bespoke tasting experiences for our guests. Our expert concierge team at La Residence have wonderful relationships with the various winemakers in the valley and can arrange private tasting experiences to suit every palate.
The bespoke experiences that we can arrange for our guests depend on the weather and the availability of the winemakers and the venues, but we’ve set out a few of our favourites below.
With Franschhoek being the MCC capital of South Africa, it’s only apt that one of your first visits should be to Colmant, the first wine farm in South Africa to be entirely dedicated to the production of Method Cap Classique. Jean Pierre Colmant, the Belgian owner and winemaker of Colmant, can give a truly authentic introduction to the Cap Classique process and a tour of the farms production facility.
TRP Tip: Colmant Brut Chardonnay NV – crisp, elegant and remarkably good value.
Tel: +27 (0)21 876 4348
Verdun Road, Franschhoek
Owned by Nigel and Joy McNaught, the same couple that founded Rickety Bridge in Franschhoek, this small and rustic farm produces wine which stays true to the couple’s passion and style of wine making. Authentic and off the mainstream wine route, guests can enjoy an honest tasting of flavoursome Cabernet Sauvignon, Semillon and Chardonnay while conversing with Nigel, Joy, or their son Craig, about their journey in wine making.
TRP Tip: Try the Pinot Noir – a great example of a warmer climate Pinot and interesting to compare to those of the Hemel en Aarde Valley.
Tel: +27(0)21 876 2182
Green Valley Road, Franschhoek
Another top producer of sparkling wine using the Méthode Cap Classique, Le Lude offers visitors an elegant introduction to the regions sparkling wine. Sit inside the graceful Orangerie restaurant, illuminated by the floor-to-ceiling glass pane windows, and enjoy one of their delicious canapé tasting menus.
TRP Tip: Le Lude produces a Brut and a Rose. Both are great.
Tel: +27 (0)21 1003464
Bowling Green Avenue (Lambrechts Road) Franschhoek
Situated in the Robertsvlei valley, Glenwood believes in a “simple, natural, quality” credo, a philosophy which permeates through their wine collection. While the grapes are grown on site at La Residence, Glenwood is also the producer of all La Residence wines. Ask to sit at the private dining table inside the wine cellar, and if possible, to have your tasting hosted by either the winemaker or assistant winemaker.
TRP Tip: The Glenwood Grand Duc Noblesse – a dessert wine made from Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon which is a favourite of Liz Biden’s.
Tel: +27 (0)21 876 2044
Robertsvlei Road, Franschhoek
Owned by the Rupert family, La Motte is one of the larger, more mainstream estate in Franschhoek. La Motte’s beautiful grounds house the Pierneef à La Motte restaurant, a museum, cafe and a modern tasting facility. The Vinoteque tasting is held in an elegant private tasting room inside the large wine cellar. The Pierneef Museum pays tribute to one of South Africa’s most famous artists.
TRP Tip: Look out for the Hanneli R Syrah led blend.
Tel: +27 (0)21 876 8000
R45 Main Road, Franschhoek
Using the experience gained from wine making in France, California, and South Africa, Chris and Andrea Mullineux established Mullineux Family Wines in 2007. In 2013 the couple paired up with Analjit Singh’s Leeu Collection to form Mullineux & Leeu Family Wines. Their wines have attracted widespread awards, accolades and recognition.
TRP Tip: The Leeu Passant and Single Terroir Range are quite remarkable but it’s hard to beat the Mullineux Syrah and the Old Vines White in terms of value for money.
Tel: +27 (0)21 492 2224
Dassenberg Road, Franschhoek
We also recommend that you try the wines of Chamonix and Boekenhoutskloof. Chamonix’s Chardonnay Reserve and Pinot Noir Reserve are spectacular while the Boekenhoutskloof Syrah is a perennial favourite. Speak to our concierge team about organising a private tasting of these wines in the La Residence cellar.
To familiarize yourself with the Franschhoek Valley, please download the 2017 Wine Route Map.
There are some incredible wine farms just outside the Franschhoek Valley. From the exquisite gardens of Babylonstoren to the relaxing environment of the Tokara Delicatessen in Stellenbosch, the following wine farms are worth visiting and lie within a 30 minute drive from La Residence.
The beautiful Tasting Room, situated inside the opulent and spacious Cape Dutch style Manor House, offers bespoke tastings of the farm’s wines including an MCC and nougat pairing. Please note that tastings are available by prior reservations only.
TRP Tip: It’s hard to pick a favourite from the vast array of wines available, but you can’t go wrong with the Cape of Good Hope Altima Sauvignon Blanc while the Terra del Capo Sangiovese is interesting and provides great value for money.
Tel: +27 (0)21 874 9074
Franschhoek Valley, Franschhoek
Sample some of Franschhoek’s finest wines, together with a selection of imported champagne and wine from the Rothschild properties in France, Argentina, and New Zealand. Sit back and take in the elegant Tasting Centre’s exquisite and tranquil interiors while enjoying some of their homemade pickle and preserve, Rupert & Rothschild olive oil, olives, and freshly baked bread.
TRP Tip: The Baron Edmond is the flagship Bordeaux Blend.
Tel: +27 (0)21 874 1648
Klapmuts Road, Franschhoek.
Celebrated for it’s immaculate gardens, Babylonstoren has an eye-catching tasting facility which boasts magnificent views across the farm through its floor-to-ceiling windows. Tantalizing tasters complement their varied selection of beautiful wines.
TRP Tip: The beautifully bottled Mourvèdre Rosé is a winner for a lazy summer’s day.
Tel: +27 (0)21 863 3852
Klapmuts Road, Franschhoek
Situated just outside the Franschhoek Valley on the way to Stellenbosch, Boschendal’s Manor House wine tasting is a premium experience not to be missed. Indulge in one of their seven delightful food and wine pairings whilst relaxing in the decorative, traditional Cape Dutch home.
TRP Tip: The Blanc de Noir is great with a pic-nic on the beautiful grounds.
Tel: +27 (0) 21 870 4210/11
Pniel Road, Groot Drakenstein, Franschhoek
Located in Stellenbosch opposite Delaire Graff and next door to Thelema, Tokara is surrounded by the beautiful Simonsberg mountains, vineyards and olive groves. The Delicatessen, a child-friendly, modern deli, is a relaxed space where guests can enjoy various wines while soaking up the spectacular surrounding scenery.
TRP Tip: The Tokara Director’s Reserve Red is another award winning flagship Bordeaux Blend.
Tel: +27 (0)21 885 2550
Helshoogte Road, Stellenbosch
One of the more extravagant wine farms in the area, Delaire Graff is all about sophistication and style. Sink into the elegant Wine Lounge while tasting some of their award winning wines. The outside terrace is the perfect place to be in summer and offers majestic views over the vineyards towards the beautiful mountains of Stellenbosch.
TRP Tip: The Coastal Cuvee Sauvignon Blanc is another summer hit.
Tel: +27 (0)21 885 8160
Helshoogte Road, Stellenbosch
To familiarize yourself with the Franschhoek Valley Wine Route, please download the wine map below:
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