Tuesday, November 25, 2014

First visits in Bot River - Benguela Cove and Rivendell

We have wanted to visit two wineries in this area for a while. Benguela Cove had invited us recently, but we were already engaged on that date. Also, we had heard that Chef Thomas Sinn (ex Wembley Square and Blue Danube) had now moved to Rivendell Winery, which is just across the estuary from there.  It was a short pleasant diversion off our route up the N2 to Riversdale and we had allowed ourselves all day.  Bot River has always been included as a ward of Elgin wine area, but suddenly there are many new wine farms opening up and it is becoming a wine route all on its own.
Benguela Cove Winery
This is the site that Lynne had picked years ago for the perfect weekend escape cottage when driving past towards Hermanus and we see that someone is now building a large and impressive house in the spot we had fantasized about. We don’t have the R2 plus million for a plot nor do we have the time to build a luxurious escape, we would prefer a tiny seaside cottage but it is an interesting place to visit. Apparently they plan to build a hotel in the next year and there are houses going up in the vineyards and along the lagoon edge. The tasting room has only just been finished and it is large and modern and has nice views from the lawn in front of it of the river and lagoon and estuary. They currently only have three wines for tasting.
The very white tasting room has views of the garden and lagoon
These are the 3 wines currently available for tasting. Kevin Grant of Ataraxia  is the winemaker and this shows in the steely green, elegant Sauvignon Blanc. Paul Wallace is the consulting viticulturist
Leandre is the tasting room manager and she gave us tastes of these wines. It costs R15 per person for a tasting
The garden outside
The terrace
Views over their dam and the estuary towards Kleinmond


This is a winery that has a separate restaurant. They are easy to find. You turn off the N2 towards Hermanus and, when you get to the Y junctions marked Kleinmond to  right and Hermanus on our left, you take the left fork and turn into the winery about 100 meters on your right.  Our first visit was to the winery to taste the wine and we were warmly welcomed by Rachel, who runs the tasting room.  We really liked their 2012 Sauvignon Blanc, asparagus and green on the nose and a full mouth of golden fruit with some minerality and saltiness. The 20013 needs more time.  They have a spicy rosé from Shiraz and a velvety 4 star Platter Shiraz with delicious tastes of dark fruits and wood
This is the tasting room
The farm is owned by Austrians, Heimo and Maria Thalhammer. The winemaker is Kobie Viljoen with viticulturist Schalk du Toit
These are the wines currently available, 
not necessarily in magnums and double magnums
The tasting room has an outside terrace
The 2012 Shiraz is a 4 star Platter wine and already has some other awards
Rachel is a very good  tasting room manager and knows a lot about wine and her customers.
Tasting room and wine sales
Then it was time for lunch in the Restaurant.  It is a very short walk up a road lined with aromatic pines. Or you can drive

The inside of the restaurant
And we were delighted to be welcomed by Chef Thomas Sinn
The lunch menu is divided into two sections, the fine dining
and the Bistro Favourites. We knew we would be having a large dinner, so we went with the Bistro menu
A surprise amuse. A rich and delicious mouthful of tender steak in red wine jus, topped with a  grainy mustard cream sauce
On a beautiful day no one wanted to sit inside, but under the huge Norfolk pine and the pepper tree
The restaurant garden
Our table had a lovely view of the vineyards
John chose the Veal Bratwurst with mash with salad and a mustard sauce
Lynne had the Beer battered hake and chips. Superbly crisp batter and perfectly cooked pearly fresh hake inside.  Served with good crisp chips, mustardy tartar sauce and a salad and topped with a sesame snap.  We drank this with 2 glasses of their 2012 Sauvignon Blanc
The bill. And service was worth paying for, it was quick, polite and friendly. We will be back
© John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus 2014

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