Saturday, June 12, 2021

A Saturday at Avontuur Estate, Stellenbosch

On a lovely Saturday we were off to Avontuur Wine Farm in the Helderberg region of Stellenbosch. Known as "the home of fine wine and fast horses" it is owned by the Taberer family. We were joining Leigh Taberer. She is the sister of the late Tony Taberer who bought the estate in 1984. It is now run by his sons Michael and Philip Taberer. We were to have a wine tasting and lunch, and see the exciting newly finished Manor House accommodation. On arrival, you drive through the Paddocks and layers of white iceberg roses.

They have a lovely view of the Table Mountain range
and you can clearly see Adamastor, the legendary Titan and Protector of the Cape,
lying on his back, taking his nap on a bed of mist

There is parking outside the main building and lots of seating on the terrace for wine tasting or eating at the restaurant

You can sit inside and they do have a fireplace but we enjoyed our lunch out on the terrace

Autumn leaves on the pin oaks

Avontuur is a renowned racing stud. We were so amused watching these pregnant mares in the closest paddock. There was one mare in control and they happily played follow my leader around the merry-go-round tree and the paddock. The new generation of foals will be born in August and are very sought after in the international racing world as the sires have very good racing records

African sacred ibis (Threskiornis aethiopicus) were grazing in the paddocks

Leigh Taberer has curated a very good exhibition of art for sale in the old cellar. It is certainly well worth the time taken to see the paintings, sculptures and ceramics of the well known artists Andrew Cooper, Lesley Charnock, Vicki Norcliffe, Marion Cross and Sandile B Cele

Chatting with Leigh and her partner Francois Joubert in the gallery

and we had a good look at the pictures and sculptures

It is a very good area for displaying art in all its forms

A bronze by Vicki Norcliffe

and a very accomplished horse's head

Wine and art combined

Very talented ceramicist Sandile Cele

You could not help but stroke the noses of this pair of dogs
Leigh Taberer contributed to the book Exploring the Cape Winelands

and they had some visitors who wanted to buy

We took a stroll to see the Manor House which has been converted into luxurious suites
We thought it would be the perfect place for a wedding or for other family celebrations, or a quiet break from the city.
Bookings can be made from the estate or through Nightsbridge booking platform 

There is a pool and a tennis court

The pool room

The house was closed, but we were able to take photographs through the windows. This is the entrance hall

One of the impressive suites

and the Manor house has the same beautiful views of paddocks and the mountain

A sheltered area at the back of the house

A vine covered pergola

now in beautiful colour as the leaves die back

Time for lunch and we had a table in the shade with the beautiful views

It is a very popular restaurant and the same people have run it for many years
It is open for breakfast, lunch and early evenings
Bookings and details on

The menu has a good and interesting selection

Hot drinks. You can order any Avontuur wine to have with your meal, by the glass or the bottle

Our very friendly and helpful waitress Avril has been working there for many years

Our starters had been pre-ordered and were smoked salmon roses
stuffed with prawn, avocado, ginger, wasabi and topped with caviar
They do not contain sushi rice, so good for no carb diets. Delicious

We have good memories of the Avontuur Cabernet Franc
and they did have some in the cellar which we had with our main course
Full of savoury umami flavours with and rich red berry fruit
Age is showing but still delicious, it went so well with the awesome Duck
Avontuur used to have an excellent annual festival of Cape Cabernet Francs
We shall miss this and, especially, the woman who organised the festival, the late Cobie van Oort

A mixed salad for the table

Both Leigh and Francois encouraged us to order the duck. We needed no pressure, it is one of our favourite things to eat, especially when it prepared as well as this. They suggested that we share a portion as they are usually very large. This portion is just right. The sauce flavoured with van der Hum tangerine liqueur and caramelised orange was perfection with the duck. It is on a bed of mixed vegetables. The crisp skin, and the moist duck are definitely something to go to Avontuur for. And the price for the full half a duck of R200 is very reasonable

It came with a portion of chips

John had room for dessert and this was the Brandy Snap Basket with vanilla ice cream, caramelised orange and a vanilla fudge sauce. Leigh and Francois had the Deep fried ice cream

We did have a taste of two wines at the beginning of lunch: the newly released Luna de Miel 2021 Reserve Chardonnay, with herbal notes, crispness and minerality and the excellent Cabernet Sauvignon with classic Cabernet flavours of forest floor, black berry fruit with cassis to the fore, good wooding and soft tannins. All the wines are named after horses that the farm has owned. The winemaker (since 2011) is Jan van Rooyen. These are the two wines we drank with our meal.


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