Down an innocuous road off of the main artery that leads visitors straight to the heart of Franschhoek lies a classic boutique winery with, in my humble estimation, the most heart-breakingly beautiful panorama you’ll find anywhere in the Cape Winelands.
Nestled within a valley surrounded by fynbos carpeted mountains, GlenWood Winery offers visitors a rare glimpse into what the Franschhoek valley looked like before it became cultivated. In the foreground, however, lush vineyards, gardens of manicured indigenous vegetation, and a large lily pad pond add vivacious colour to the views and attract birds in the dozens. It was against this spectacular backdrop that we embarked upon the day’s mouth-watering itinerary: a fine wine and food experience at GlenWood’s tasting room!
On the menu
GlenWood’s fine wine and food experience essentially provides guests with a comprehensive introduction to the estate’s range of award-winning wines, which they’ve carefully paired with food from its restaurant. The experience began with a welcome drink of GlenWood’s Semillon & Sauvignon Blanc 2016, an 80% and 20% blend.
Then, once we were appropriately settled, a palette of six generous food bites or canapés was brought to us and six wine glasses filled with tastings of the estate’s wines to be paired with each of the dishes:
- GlenWood Chardonnay (unwooded) 2017 and kingklip ceviche: fresh, cured raw fish served with cucumber slivers, slices of radish, orange segments, and wood sorrel.
- Vigneron Selection Chardonnay 2017 and beef carpaccio: thinly-sliced raw beef served with fried capers and Shiraz jelly and piled high with fresh rocket, all drenched in truffle oil – amazing.
- GlenWood Merlot 2017 and duck Caesar salad: cos lettuce with crispy bacon, croutons, and Parmesan shavings with Caesar dressing and duck, instead of the usual chicken.
- Syrah Grand Duc 2015 and creamy mushroom risotto, featuring confit garlic, grated Parmesan cheese, and crisp, pan-fried mushrooms.
- GlenWood Sauvignon Blanc & Semillon (50/50) blend 2017 and rolled pork belly, served with mustard mash, shaved carrots, and crackling.
- Vigneron Selection Shiraz 2016 and sirloin steak with mashed potato.
Each pairing was a harmonious marriage with the food coaxing out previously unrealised depths of fruit and complexity in the wine and vice versa.
With our rather epic tasting and pairing experience concluded, we were allowed to select our favourite dish and wine, which we then received as a main meal. My partner chose the beef carpaccio and Sauvignon Blanc & Semillon 2017, while I chose the pork belly and gorgeously complex and velvety Vigneron Selection Shiraz 2016. I felt a little guilty straying from the pairing GlenWood’s team had so painstakingly put together, but it would take a lot more than a sense of decorum to get between me and a voluptuous South African Shiraz.
Also, we found their fabulous wines versatile enough to mix and match.
A must-do, affordable experience
One typically thinks of Franschhoek as an expensive place to eat and drink, which is certainly the case if you plan on eating out at a wine estate or fine dining establishment. GlenWood, however, has put together a sumptuous experience that includes welcome drink, fine wine and food pairing, and a main meal with a glass of wine for a super affordable R450 per person!
More than just the food, wine, and affordability, however, is the draw card of this boutique winery’s spectacular natural surroundings, which makes a visit here worthwhile any day of the year. The tranquillity is difficult to convey in words and is more profound than mere “peace and quiet”. The sweeping views of cultivated valley, indigenous vegetation, and mountains are complimented by a soundtrack of birdsong, neighing horses, the steady hum of cicadas, and the breeze filtering through the leaves of the trees shading us. And it all works together to quieten the restless mental cogs that tend to keep the mind and soul from true peace. GlenWood is truly a place of unrivalled beauty and tranquillity and we absolutely loved the fine wine and food experience!
GlenWood’s tasting room is open for lunch 7 days a week. Booking is essential, as the venue can only accommodate 20 guests per seating. For bookings and enquiries, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 021 876 2044