Friday, July 26, 2019

A Weekend in Stellenbosch. 3. Spier Hotel, Vadas restaurant, Wine tasting

The next stop on our Stellenbosch Wine Routes "Experience Winter in Stellenbosch" last weekend was to the hotel at Spier wine estate where we would spend the night, have dinner at PJ Vadas Smokehouse and Bakery on Spier and, after breakfast, go to the tasting room for a wine and soup pairing. We checked in and then were taken by golf cart to our room
#StellenboschisCool in Winter
Weekends like this can be organised by the Stellenbosch Wine Routes office and Visitor Information Centre - for a two night’s stay from as little as R1500 per person sharing. They are located at 47 Church Street, Stellenbosch. For queries, visitors are encouraged to contact Stellenbosch Wine Routes on +27 21 886 4310 Or via email on 
For more information on these winter breaks to Stellenbosch and for inspiration on visits to the region, visit
A lovely, large airy room with a huge bed, good linen and a bathroom en suite
Somewhere to sit
The bathroom has both a bath ... 
... and a shower
They have room service and this is the very good menu, should you decide not to venture out
We think that the prices are very reasonable
Something for the children and something to drink
We rested, walked in the garden; some went to watch the Rugby International which was showing in the bar and at 7 it was time to walk across to the PJ Vadas Smokehouse and Bakery on Spier for dinner

Happy welcoming staff
Hungry media ready for supper. We certainly were fed very well on this weekend
We ordered a bottle of Spier 21 Gables award winning Chenin Blanc with our dinner and it was a super match for this rich food
The menu is quite simple and easy to use. Our meal was set and had been prearranged 
First some Bacalao cod fish cakes, with lemon slices, and a honey mustard dip,
truffle oil and chives on cream cheese, with sourdough bread and butter
Another happy table. It is a family-friendly restaurant
We were each given one of these trays containing, bottom left: Roasted pumpkin with pumpkin seeds, pistachio
and chocolate granola, two roast potatoes, Brisket covered in a sweet and sour sticky sauce, more Asian than Barbecue,
some pickles and, in the bowl, some tender and moist pulled pork, which tasted like duck and was very good
A wonderful shared salad to accompany the food was made from roasted beetroot, naartjie (tangerine) segments, preserved naartjie, feta cheese, pistachio nut Dukkah, fennel fronds, all drizzled with elderflower syrup. Fresh fruity and very exciting
And dessert was Portuguese Pasteis de Nata with very good crisp pastry
(The secret to this is not to precook the custard filling, but put it raw into the pastry and bake them together,
not forgetting a dash of rum in the custard)
We all wandered back to our rooms after supper for a good night’s sleep. It was intensely cold on the way back;
the temperature did go below freezing in the night
On our way to breakfast on a very icy morning 
Frost on the lawn,
melting as the weak morning sun reached it
The breakfast room is large and there is another next door
Several stations, Here were croissants and other pastries, fish, cheeses and sauces
This one had bains marie with hot breakfast items like scrambled egg, bacon, sausages,
and other traditional items to which you could help yourself
The cereal, fruit and yoghurt bar with juices on the end
And this lass could make you eggs anyway you wanted them
John had an enormous omelette with bacon and cheese
and Lynne had two perfect sunny side up fried eggs
Lovely colourful Lachenalia on each table. Quite a rare colour, we think
After breakfast we checked out and then decided to take a walk around the estate
We discovered that rainwater on the top of these barrels had turned to ice overnight
We enjoyed the River Walk which is a lovely meander alongside the river
Frost sparkling on the leaves of the riverside plants
It is a lovely forest walk for a while with lots of sunbirds, especially the sunbirds sipping nectar on the Montbrecia 
You enter over one bridge and exit further down over another which brings you out near the Tasting room
Lots of king and queen Proteas and other varieties as well
Our national flower in all its glory
PJ Vadas restaurant is in one of the older houses
The slave bell, from a time we care to forget, but must remember so that it will never happen again
Ducklings with mum dabbling in the pond
and a fountain helps to clean and aerate the water, which is recycled 
At 11 it was time for our tasting, paired with soup, although we were all quite full from our large breakfast
We sat at a table raised on its own at the end of the tasting room
Some of the Spier wines
and more; this is a tasting room you do want to visit; the wines are very good
Jan Laubscher and Anel Grobler waiting while our wines are poured
Showing us the wines we were to taste. It was a fast and furious tasting
We began with the Block 2, a blend of 80% Sauvignon Blanc and 20% Semillon. Dusty Semillon, hints of green from the Sauvignon on the nose, sweet on entry, a mature wine with long fruit flavours, and lanolin from the Semillon with chalky tannins on the end. A real match for the thick creamy Cauliflower soup topped with ground pepper; it put it in its place and refreshed our palates well. The parmesan crisp that topped the soup was really good
   Then the Seaward Chardonnay with its nice golden notes and a whiff of smoke. Round on the palate, a bit oily with buttered apple and an end of crisp citrus with a hint of salt. Served with very sweet butternut soup topped with feta and nuts. Next the 2017 Seaward Shiraz, spicy with vanilla, raspberry and mulberry on the nose. Plums and wood and a mocha ending. Paired with a spicy roast tomato and basil soup. This pairing did not work for us, we found the soup made the wine bitter and vice versa. Both are good, but not together
   The final pairing was a vegan brownie that had a texture of polenta (it is made of sweet potato).It was very sweet and had nice dark chocolate and nuts on top. This was the best pairing and went with the Spier Cape Vintage, an excellent Port style wine. If you would like to do the Spier Seaward Soup Tasting at the Spier tasting room, it costs just R120 per person, and is vegetarian-friendly
Thank you so much Elmarie Rabie, Manager at Stellenbosch Wine Routes, for organising such a very good and varied weekend. We think this will be a huge success
All content ©  John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus

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