Muratie the rustic
For those of you who have visited the Stellenbosch region, you will know that there are many winery options ranging from the rustic to the remarkable.
This was brutally reinforced when we chose to visit the oldest winery in Stellenbosch, an institution named Muratie. It is such a cliché to speak about a trip back in time, however this is an apt description.
When one arrives, one is drawn to the garden which is close to being overgrown. This is not the case though as the plants and trees clearly thrive in the verdant setting with the majestic oaks towering over the other inhabitants.
If you were unaware of the history, a rough timeline of the past owners will soon ensure you appreciate the length of winemaking. This is shown on a weathered plaque at the entrance to the facility.
The original cellar though still in use has been converted into a tasting facility by converting the open fermenting room size deep troughs into homely sections with tables and chairs. The décor reflects the rustic and ingrained wine stained walls with heirlooms and Africana artifacts displayed throughout. There is even a stained glass window with cobwebs dating back to 1979!
Due to the layout of the building, which are a little mazy, one is assured a fair amount of privacy and is therefore ideal for groups of 4 or more.
We were warmly greeted by the wine tasting assistant Leydon and it was a pleasure to be treated to an informative and enthusiastic pourer.
All the wines tasted were well crafted and of a good quality. I was pleased to taste wines of earlier vintage, rather than some wineries which only have their recent bottlings for tasting. I scored the wines positively and was particularly impressed with the Merlot , the Bordeaux blends and the Cabernet Sauvignon. The winery has been making port for a few decades and they clearly know their stuff. We purchased a bottle of this as well as their red blend in a magnum.
The tastings are upward of R50 and R80 per range. I would heartily recommend a visit so why not Be My Guest?
Quoin Rock the remarkable
It has been a number of years since I last visited this neighbor of Muratie and Knorhoek.
As we pulled up it was very clear that this was a winery committed to making a statement. The antithesis of the previous winery visited. A guardhouse at the entrance was the first clue, followed soon after by a brooding statue in a pool of water. The backdrop of the Simonsberg is a perfect frame for the glass and angled architecture.
Upon entering the facility it was more hotel reception and foyer rather than a wine oriented service area. The water feature was impressive as was the clean Avante Garde lounge informal area.
Their restaurant opened in December to instant acclaim with foodies effusive in their praise for the cutting edge culinary concepts on offer.
Sadly this is the sum total of my experience as the eye watering cost of a tasting= R300 rendered me blinded and speechless. My recollection of their wines was not strong enough to drop that kind of money for the equivalent of a glass of wine.
Sadly there will have to be another occasion to sip the rarified Quoin Rock nectar. In mitigation of the venue, they clearly have a vision that does not include the average wine drinker. They do however serve a cheese and or charcuterie platter along with oysters and wine by the glass. So I retreated dazed but confident of taking the right client to this exclusive venue.