Wine with heart
By Nicolette Waterford
Laborie – one of the precious jewels of the Cape Winelands – offers romance, gastronomic delights and a chic country ambience which can seldom be found on a wine farm set in the heart of the hustle and bustle of a popular country town such as Paarl.
Well-known for producing some of the best Méthode Cap Classiques, as well as a host of award winning wines, the estate is also home to the Laborie Alambic Brandy.
This brandy is the proud owner of the accolade “Best Brandy in the World 2010” awarded by the International Wine and Spirits Competition held annually in London.
A visit to Laborie affords you the opportunity to reminisce about the Cape as it once was. The farm was granted to Isaac Taillefert in 1691, named after the district of La Bri in France. Laborie has been producing fine wines since 1698 and, more than 300 years on, is one of the oldest operational wine farms in South Africa.
Surrounded by the majestic Drakenstein Mountains and with the Paarl Mountain as its backdrop, immaculate and sprawling lawns offer brides a naturally beautiful setting for their special day – and the perfect canvas against which to capture these special memories.
The garden or Historical Cellar can be converted into a small, intimate chapel for the ceremony, whilst the reception may be held in the restaurant. Accommodation at Laborie consists of eight luxury guest rooms as well as a special room in the historic Manor House, which may be used by brides to prepare for their wedding ceremony.
All suites have a French feel and boast elegant, soft and creamy textures reminiscent of the best Champagnes and Cap Classiques. All accommodation is offered on a Bed-and-Breakfast basis and includes DSTV, a bar fridge, air-conditioning, coffee and tea-making facilities and wireless internet access.
Harvest at Laborie, overseen by well-known and highly respected Chef, Matthew Gordon, offers guests a plethora of gastronomic delights with a menu that is classically inspired but modern in concept.
The contemporary Private Dining Room is able to host smaller, intimate groups and guests. Patrons are also able to relax, unwind and socialise whilst enjoying a glass or two of the superb Laborie wines in The Wine Lounge or on the restaurant veranda whilst gazing out on the vineyards.
Another feature of this pristine wine estate is its state of the art conferencing facility. In addition to the smaller breakaway rooms, the main conference room can be found in the Historical Wine Cellar, one of the oldest cellars still in existence.
This exclusive, yet intimate venue is best suited for conferences of 20-delegates and comes fully equipped with all conferencing amenities and requirements, whilst meals can be enjoyed in the private dining room in the Manor House or the restaurant. Packages can be tailor-made according to the clients’ needs.
The tasting room is surrounded by the natural splendour of the Paarl Valley, the Paarl and Drakenstein Mountains and sprawling vineyards. In an intimate setting, you are welcomed by a cozy fire during winter and stunning views from the balcony in summer – picnics (booking essential), cheese platters and olive and wine pairings can be enjoyed during the summer.
Laborie is home to the Skotnes exhibition, featuring 30 works by this highly acclaimed South African artist. The collection is built around the 1977 piece Skotnes created especially for KWV titled “The Origin of Wine”, which is based on one of the oldest stories of humankind, “The Epic of Gilgamesh”. This artwork celebrates not only the complex heritage of the wine-making industry in the Cape, but evokes a love for wine which stems from the ancient epoch of Gilgamesh and continues into the present day.
Enjoying a good bottle of wine is one of life’s true delights. Laborie knows this and offers a collection of wines set to indulge wine-lovers around South Africa. Bursting with flavour and soft on the palate these wines are the perfect accompaniment to any occasion whether it be a memorable celebration, an intimate dinner with friends or watching the sun set with your loved one.
The Laborie collection of still wines include a Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot / Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz and retailing between R55 and R79 whilst the Laborie MCC Brut, Rosé and Blanc de Blancs retail for R90, R100 and R110 respectively. The flagship Laborie Jean Taillefert currently retails at approximately R190. Wines are available at most major outlets.
With an abundance of scenery, a wealth of historical value, wines which continue to wow patrons, a restaurant where each dish displays depth of flavour and superb presentation and with so much more to offer visitors Laborie truly is the “destination of destinations”.
* Visit www.laboriewines.co.za for more information.