Located right at the entrance to Anthonij Rupert Wyne’s rolling, verdant estate in Franschhoek, you’ll find the Terra del Capo Tasting Room. This is a place to indulge in some serious retail therapy, to sit down to a wine tasting, enjoy a bite to eat, and watch the wine cellar and its worker bees hard at work. Designed to showcase the company’s Italian-inspired Terra del Capo wine range, the Terra Del Capo Tasting Room offers two whole levels dedicated to the art of administering, and of tasting wine, from the spacious counters of the mezzanine-level to the more relaxed, intimate lounge areas.
The task at hand for us required some serious preparation – and by “preparation,” I mean a smoothie for breakfast and 45 minutes on the treadmill – because we were here to taste our way through their new winter-inspired tapas/antipasti menu!
We were inelegantly booted into Terra Del Capo Tasting Room by a strong, icy gust of wind. Thankfully, I was soon distracted from my discomfort by the smiling staff and a welcome glass of L’Ormarins Blanc de Blanc 2013. How can one be cross with the weather when you have such a fine glass of Méthode Cap Classique in hand? In any case, we were here for the new winter menu so perhaps a bit of icy wind was needed to set the mood.
After a flute of L’Ormarins and a bit of a wander around the tasting room, which sells all manner of treats, from Anthonij Rupert’s handsome selection of wines to fine glassware, olive oils, and even straw hats, we filed into the antipasti bar, an elegant dining area and bar that looks out onto Anthonij Rupert’s working cellar. Here, we settled around our table – dressed with lemon-heavy citrus branches – and embarked upon an Italian-inspired feast worthy of the weather.
Antipasti – Uno – First Wave
The feast began with a shot of rich, hearty Black Angus beef brodo (broth), accompanied by freshly baked focaccia bread and Terra Del Capo extra virgin olive oil – in other words, a quintessential cold weather meal. For this and the next leg of the winter menu tasting, we were poured generous glasses of the Terra Del Capo Pinot Grigio 2019, a wonderfully versatile, medium bodied white wine that – much to everyone’s surprise – went beautifully with the varied antipasti dishes we sampled.
This wine, made from a cultivar uncommon in South Africa, features lively, crisp citrus notes complemented by an undertow of pear, honeydew melon, and nectarine with a satisfying full, rounded finish. Even more surprising than the Pinot Grigio’s versatility was its price of only R65, which explains why so many of us went home with two or more bottles tucked under our arm!
Antipasti – Duo – Second Wave
The second wave of antipasti inundated our table with beautifully fragrant dishes that included aubergine involtini with ricotta, Parmesan cheese, and Napolitano sauce; sautéed porcini mushrooms with garlic, thyme, and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese; and smoked Franschhoek trout with gremolata, and preserved lemon slices. The latter was served inside a glass dome filled with fragrant wood smoke that billowed out with the grand reveal – who doesn’t love a little theatre with their dinner?
Antipasti – Tre – Third Wave
Somehow still standing after a hedonistic second wave of absolutely delicious antipasti, we braced ourselves for the third wave of Angus beef tartare with truffle vinaigrette and a soft quail egg; potato gnocchi Guanciale (Italian cured pork cheek), and creamy Fontina cheese sauce; and a bite-sized slab of sous-vide pork belly with a pesto made from stewed peppers, onions and tomatoes (what the Italians call peperonata).
This was all washed down with the Terra Del Capo Sangiovese 2016, a dry, yet lusciously fruity Italian varietal wine packed with ripe black fruits, plums, and cherries and with lovely spice on the nose. This wine is a textbook example of the magic that can be achieved when tannins, acidity, and fruit is in perfect balance and, for only R85, is a total steal. I bought three to take home with me.
Our final course – dolce – was a filled zeppole pastry smothered with indulgent chocolate and raspberries.
La Dolce Vita
Forgive the bias, but I have had a mad love affair with Italian cuisine ever since my taste buds bloomed. It is a cuisine that embraces simplicity, fresh seasonal ingredients, variety, and cheese (lots of cheese), all bound together by copious amounts of olive oil, good wine, and loud conversation. Pizza and pasta, which we all know and love so dearly, are just two chapters in the Italian cookbook. During our preview of Terra Del Capo Tasting Room’s new winter-inspired antipasti menu, we got to explore several more, and it sent us all home thoroughly warmed inside and out.
And, in true Italian fashion, there was even a bit of singing in the shuttle on the way home.
Terra Del Capo tasting room is open Tuesday to Sunday, 12:00 to 16:00 (kitchen closes at 15:30) by appointment only. For bookings and enquiries, please email email@example.com or call +27 (0) 21 874 9041
Anthonij Rupert Wine Estate, R45 Wine Route, Franschhoek