- Good for: Wine and Food Tasting, Buying Rothschild wines
- Cost: R150-250/pp
- Rating: 4/5
- Contact: Klapmuts Road, +27 (0) 21 874 1648 Web
After my amazing experience at Creation Wines in the Hemel en Aarde Vallei I thought it would be a good idea to try something similar a bit closer to home. I did a bit of digging and found a very nice sounding Food and Wine Tasting at Rupert and Rothschild Vignerons, just over the mountain from Stellenbosch. Yesterday started with smoke hanging in the air from an out of control fire in Jonkershoek but fortunately it cleared by lunchtime and I headed out to go and get some R&R.
The R45 running past the turnoff to the farm is very busy even on a weekday, but turning into the driveway to the Rupert and Rothschild Estate makes for a calming experience, with peace and quiet descending immediately.
Pulling into the parking area I spotted quite a few cars, but walking into the tastefully done up Tasting Centre there was only one other table of three people to be seen. Service was quick and the various options were explained to me; either just Wine Tasting at R10/tasting (Rothschild wines from the farm and from around the world), a three course Wine and Food Tasting (covering the three wines produced on the farm) or a five course Wine and Food Tasting (covering some local and some international Rothschild wines). I dithered a little bit but in the interest of scientific research (though not my waistline) I had to go for the five course Wines of the World Wine and Food Tasting at R235.
As previously mentioned, the place was virtually empty, which gave me free rein to explore and take some pictures undisturbed. The tasting counter, lounge and restaurant are all very tastefully done up in neutral colours and wood, with some interesting touches like the light fittings to add colour. The outside area is also very inviting with couched areas as well as more traditional tables on the deck.
Having satisfied my urge to take pictures of everything I see I sat down and prepared myself for some serious wine and food tasting! Below you can see the menu (spot the spelling mistake!) as well as pictures of the various dishes.
All of the dishes are served hot, with the exception of the Cold Smoked Salmon that is paired with the champagne. After explaining a bit about the wines to me the server left me to get on with the serious business of tasting the wines and food. Of the wines the New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc was my favourite, with the Chateau Des Laurets a close second. All of the food was amazing and though the portions look small they are quite substantial and more than a mouthful each. The Crispy Karoo Lamb would have to be my favourite and I wish I could have tried out the Pork Belly and Braised Springbok on the three course Tasting menu as well, but that really would have been overkill! The wine is poured in fairly substantial measures, and I got a taste of the two locally produced Rothschild wines for free, making this another good value for money Food and Wine Tasting.
I don’t want to go into any sort of comparison with Creation Wines as the two are completely different and both have their own niche in the market. Having experienced a brilliant tasting and food pairing at Creation Wines I almost wished that the Rupert & Rothschild experience would be lacking somehow as I can’t keep waxing lyrical about EVERY wine tasting I do! The Rupert and Rothschild Tasting Centre could do with being busier as it would improve the atmosphere and whole experience; currently it is a bit cold and clinical, especially if you’re pretty much the only person there and there’s more staff than customers. A nice buzz of people enjoying themselves and the wonderful setting would definitely add to the experience, not that it is in any way a bad experience. Here the focus is on a food and wine tasting, with the food almost taking centre stage, rather than being a support act. I enjoyed the wines but would have to say that I probably enjoyed the food more than the wine; though that may have something to do with the fact that I can’t actually afford Rupert and Rothschild’s wines! I can fully recommend the R&R experience to anyone looking for a relaxed lunchtime experience in a beautiful setting with some great food and wine.