Thursday, February 14, 2019

Piekenierskloof Wines tasted at Hebron Guesthouse & Restaurant

We love travelling out into the country and were really intrigued when we received an invitation to Piekenierskloof, an area up the N7 about 2 hours from Cape Town that we have not visited before. It is near Citrusdal and we have not ventured into that area for several years. Coincidentally, we had driven near it on our way back from holiday in Lambert's Bay, having taken the wrong road home
These are views of the valley from the top of the Piekenierskloof Pass
You can almost feel the heat of high summer in the dry valley
and see why the black mountains have given the area its Swartland moniker
Below is one of the citrus farms that proliferate in the area and in the far distance is the West Coast
Farms dot the landscape and, down in the valley, the main crop is wheat
The shaved fields look like striped tweed at the moment
The Atlantic Ocean is just over the horizon
We had been invited to come and taste Pikenierskloof wines and to stay overnight at Hebron Guesthouse which is high in the mountain, right at the top of the pass
It has good accommodation, a small shop, a restaurant and has the Piekenierskloof tasting room. It is rustic and charming. You can find them on
An outside seating area
They do get lots of people stopping off on their way up or down the N7 and Citrusdal is just a few kilometres away. The restaurant is very popular.
The reception is in the restaurant building
Hebron is run by Caro & Steve Oldroyd and owned by Caro's mother Jenny. It is child friendly
Steve is a chef who spent several years in London. They moved back 10 years ago
to live and work at Hebron and take over from Caro's mum who bought the place many years ago
The restaurant has several rooms for those wishing to sit inside
There is a covered terrace and seating in the garden near the swimming pool
Lots of bygones decorate Hebron
Beautiful summer sunflowers
We had booked for dinner and on Friday nights they have Pizza night
In the shop, some good jams and chutneys. We couldn’t resist the Seville orange marmalade
Our wine tasting had been booked for 13h00 at the Piekenierskloof Tasting room where we met Janine de Vries, who runs things there. She is nice and sparky, knows a lot about the wine and has a good palate. You can also do a Carmien Rooibos tea tasting. If you want to do one of these special tastings, you have to prebook
It was too hot to sit outside
So we took a table at one of the windows. Our tasting of Piekenierskloof Grenaches was to be paired with four canapés, matched to the wines and they would be served from outside, a clever arrangement, as food was delivered from the kitchen
Some of the wines for sale
The tasting room is small, but cool
Our view from the tasting room
Janine pours us our first wine, Piekenierskloof 2017 Chenin Blanc, while we waited for the food for the pairing to arrive. It is quite tropical on the nose and palate, warm and full. The 2018 is full of fresh, golden fruit acidity, biting lemons, granadilla and loquats; it's a hot country Chenin and needs time to soften
These are the pairings to go with the four Grenaches. They are served, not on a plate, but on a dried palm branch
Rather appropriate to Hebron, which is named after Hebron, a city on the West Bank in Palestine
Chef Steve explains the food
The first wine was the 2017 White Grenache, with an almost Semillon nose, warm fruit and wood. On the palate, it's full of citrus, bitter grapefruit and naartjie (tangerine) flavours, rather satisfying and hard to describe. It was paired with a crostini with ripe camembert and a rich and rather sweet cranberry jam. We felt that the sweetness of the cranberry overpowered the wine - perhaps marmalade with its citrus might work better?
The second wine was the 2018 Grenache Rosé, perfumed with rose petals and red plums. Slightly pétillant, with red wine flavours of raspberry, strawberry and red plums, it has long flavours. Paired with green olives stuffed with bokkom, coated in panko crumbs and deep fried. The concept of the pairing had us worried. Bokkoms are strongly flavoured, salted, sun dried mullet; a delicacy to West Coast people, but not to us. However, in this guise with the strong green olives, they took the place of good anchovies and, because of the salt, they worked very well with the wine. The olives came with a dip of a smoky tomato relish
Next came the 2016 Grenache Noir which is garnet in colour. Elderberry and a little bloody on the nose, it has the tart, sharp fruit acids of cranberry and plum with long flavours. Rather southern French in style with good ageing potential. It was paired with a Parmesan cheese straw and a rich mushroom dip, which was an excellent pairing, as it enhanced the wine well
The final wine to be paired was the 2015 Heirloom Red; a blend of 45% Grenache, 45% Shiraz, 5% Mourvedre and 5% Tannat. Janine describes this wine as Black Forest Gateau and indeed it is. There is chocolate and sponge cake, kirsch and black cherry on the nose. Black and red cherries on the palate; rich, hot, spicy and fulfilling. The 2016 is soon to be released. The pairing was inspired, one of the very best we have done in a long time. Steve has made a beetroot and rose water Turkish Delight topped with dark Lindt chocolate and a sprinkling of white pepper grains. He says its the most difficult item to make, as it has to be made fresh and refrigerated, but is absolutely delicious and so good with the wine. It makes it shine
The list of wines with prices. We also tasted the 2016 Single Vineyard Berg en Dal Chenin; full of honey, tinned pineapple on the nose with lime and pineapple on the palate, long flavours with hints of wood smoke on the end. Very good
Their line-up. We did have a palate refresher of the Carmine Honey Bush tea, but not the rooibos
Garnet red on the 2016 Cinsault, which has smoke, paprika, thyme and fynbos on the nose. Soft and silky on the palate, with liquorice, chocolate umami, long plum and cherry berry fruit. Concentrated wood remains on the end. Has potential
The pool area. Do remember to take your swimming costumes
and a view of the valley below, near Citrusdal
Those are the Cederberg mountains in the distance; we have to come back to visit them later in the year
Harvest is upon us, so February is a busy time of the year up here
Misty early evening light
The garden was set up for a 30th birthday celebration that night and they were a very good crowd; not at all loud, just happy
Because of the function, there were a couple of other options besides Pizza
so Lynne had the Beef burger which comes with chips and a mustardy dip
John had the fig, ham and blue cheese Pizza. We had brought with us a bottle of Glenelly Estate Reserve 2014
and one of Cape Point’s 2018 Cape Town Sauvignon blanc. Both were superb
The restaurant does not have a licence, so you can drink your own wine or buy something from the tasting room, when it is open
Our table on the stoep. There were lots of foreign visitors staying at Hebron, some from Germany and others from Sweden
John finished with a chocolate ice cream sundae topped with nuts and crumbled meringue, followed by a good espresso
Our room was the third of the three rooms along the verandah of this building
This was our beautiful room, well decorated, very comfortable and cool
The antique cot in the corner became a resting place for cushions overnight but could be useful if you have a small baby
The tiny bathroom is very adequate and has a shower built into one wall.
Our bedroom window. We love the tiny bird hangers on each window;
they do seem to discourage insects from flying into the rooms
Each room has its own chairs outside on the porch which has a lovely view of the garden
Car parking is close by, so not far to carry luggage
Breakfast the next morning was perfect. Lynne had the Classic English with fresh sunny side up fried eggs, oh so crisp bacon (thank YOU! you would be surprised how much leather bacon we are served), tomato, and a small cake of sausage meat. Accompanied by a pot of green tea with lemon, and toast, butter and jam
John had the enjoyable brioche French toast with bacon, syrup and berries. He had two cups of black coffee
We must mention the cheerful and friendly staff who smooth the way
And while he was taking some photos in the garden, he found some turkeys. They do have hens as well
What a lovely overnight stay, we felt very well cared for. Thank You to all at Hebron

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Hi John and Lynne, we are very glad to have had you here, spending some time with us and enjoying Piekenierskloof's wine and surrounds. We hope to see you soon again! Warm regards, all of us here at Piekenierskloof Wine Company.