The first thing we were told when we sat down for this tastings was that the point if this pairing was not only to find food that brings out the flavors of the wine but to pair the wines with food that everyone has access to. It is easy to appreciate wine pairings when paired with uniquely crafted gourmet meals, but what about when we are at home cooking everyday, normal people food – its also possible and not too hard. This pairing menu is the winter pairing menu at Neethlingshof, so it uses traditional and typical meals that we would eat at home during winter Neethlinghsof Premium, Chenin Blanc – Creamy Tomato Soup

Bikes 'n Wines Wine Estate History spacer This Chenin is classed as a Fresh and Fruity Chenin Blanc and its light green hue when poured mirrors this classification. I found the first sip quite acidic but then again it was noon on a work day and I think my brain hadn’t got itself around the fact that we were wine tasting.When it comes to white wines and winter I find I have a palate that tends towards a more wooded style so to join this light wine with a hot soup was a little strange to me. Tomato soup can be quite acidic so pairing these two acidic tastes in my head was not going to work too well. I was proven wrong, as at first, the initial sour taste (acidity) of the wine brought out the sweetness in the tomato fruits whilst the cream in the soup worked with the wine to balance out the sharpness of its acidity. I think this is a good example of how a food and wine should work together to bring out/soften characteristics that will compliment each other. Good Job

Neethlinghsof Premium, Gewürztraminer – Samosa and homemade fruit chutney

Bikes 'n wines Wine Estate History spacer The first thing that struck me about this tasting was the smell of the Gewürtzraminer it is a very aromatic wine that is super deceiving. It smells very sweet and fruity, but when you taste it, it is an off dry wine. This definitely took me by surprise, you have NO idea what you are tasting when comparing it to the smell. The pairing with the samosa is an interesting one, the curry lowers a bit of the acidity in the wine and brings out a few of the fruit flavors I found the chutney to be a bit more complimentary than the samosa itself, I think because I was still searching for the fruity taste that I’d smelt – I personally tasted a hint of peach but my entourage tasted more litchi and pineapple coming out. We did do this tasting in winter so obviously the warmness of the curry is a great choice for Cape Winters, showing you that you can drink a white wine, even when its pouring outside. I myself would like to pair this with a sushi dish as I would love to see what the freshness of the fish would bring out in the wine, this is not a recommended dish if you search what to pair with this wine, but to be honest almost all other Gewürtzraminers I have tasted have been sweeter. I say this because on the nose you get very strong fruit flavors that don’t come out as easily in the taste, I would like to see what a delicate fish would bring out in it.

Neetlingshof Premium, Malbec – Meatballs on Rocket Leaves

Bikes 'n wines - Wine Estate History spacer As someone who does not drink a lot of Malbec (unless it is in a bordeux blend.. yum) I don’t really have a starting view point on this one. this specific vintage had quite soft tannins which I believe is strange for a Malbec. Pairing this with the meatballs is an easy one, as we all love our medium bodied wines with some meat – but what I like best here was the rocket, the meatballs had a little bit of spice and the spicy rocket flavors added to it worked really nicely to ring out the sweetness of the fruit in the wine (like when you sprinkle pepper over strawberries, if you haven’t tried it – please do). I found this wine very more-ish and could easily see myself getting through a bottle or two way to easily.

Neethlingshof Sort Story Collection, Owl Post Pinotage – Steak Sandwich with caramelized onion and chocolate shavings

Bikes 'n Wines Wine Estate History spacer The Owls Post is a single vineyard pinotage, so the management of the vineyard that is used has a huge role to play in the wine-making process and the winemaker is often a lot more involved.A single vineyard wine, means that all the grapes for this wine are grown on one estate. Neethlingshof strategically plants the Pinotage grapes on there estate to ensure they get what they want from this varietal (ie. using dryland vines on westerly facing slopes 120m above sea level in soil originating from decomposed granite). Steak with chocolate shavings is the classic choice for pinotage which has become synonymous with chocolate and coffee in South Africa. The chocolate was dark and bitter and the caramelized onion not too sweet, this let the undertones of fruit (stewed prunes is what I think of) come out a little in the wine. The small roll and steak provide a nice hearty base to match the robustness of the wine. I did not enjoy this as much as I normally do, which for me is strange as I usually love my pinot’s but I think this just means that i will have to go back and try it all over again 🙂

Neethlingsof Short Story Collection, The Maria Noble Late Harvest – Malva Pudding

Bikes 'n wines - Wine Estate History spacer Dessert, dessert oh how I love dessert, and with almost 220 grams of residual sugar in this vintage I got all the sweet I could handle. The Maria NOBLE late harvest uses grapes planted between 140m above sea- level. Why am I telling you this? These vineyards are on a hill that are exposed o the cooling mists of False Bay, and these help to create the right conditions for the botrytis fungus to flourish (needed to leach the water from the grapes and enabling it to be called a “Noble”wine) – interesting? – well I thought it was 🙂 I realize that Malva pudding is a South African favorite and a winter favourite but too be honest I was a little overpowered by the sweetness of the sticky pudding and the wine together in the beginning. I found a solution though, eat and drink slower (I think I am a gobbler). First tasting the VERY sweet Maria gave the malva pudding a lot more characteristics and I found that the sweetness of the wine allowed me to taste the different nuances, and flavors in the pudding that if I was eating on its own I may not have noticed (ie. the saltiness that compliments the buttery flavors). Having very small sips of the wine would keep these tastes working, and you ended up with a few more sips when your pudding was done to enjoy at your leisure. I personally would like to enjoy this wine with something sharp like a cheese platter or some savoury nuts which I think would definitely bring out some of the hidden flavors in the wine as well.

 

Lets just say that after this meal I walked out of he wine cellar feeling well warmed inside (needed, because it was a chilly day) and had a pink glow to my cheeks. I can’t wait to come back in Summer and try the new menu – why don’t you join us on a tour and try it for yourself!

Post By: Tarryn Povey – Operations Manager

Pizza travels the world and comes in all shapes and sizes. Round, rectangular, folded over as a calzone or as flat bread, this creation is still one of the most popular dishes in the world and the varieties and toppings are endless. Even though the perfect pizza (or pizzaioli as the Italians call it) is created by the Napoli in the way it was first done in the 17th century, the dish has evolved and migrated with its people. If you eat a pizza in the United States, the dough is rich and the bottom as thick as a car wheel, topped with kilograms of cheddar. We as South Africans have stayed quite close to the original recipe, but our version will be topped with a lot of local ingredients, such as biltong, pineapple or avocado. Most South African restaurants that are famous for their pizzas will also prepare the dish in the same ways as the Italians do, in a wood-fired oven, to keep the same authentic taste as la mama used to make them. Mulderbosch Wine Estate has perfected the art of traditional pizza-making and is one of the best places to taste a wood-fired pizza. Sit on the large terrace overlooking the beautiful slopes of the mountain or crawl together in front of the massive fireplace in winter to nibble on their amazing variety of pizzas. Or, book a Winelands Luxury Tour with Bikes ‘n Wines and experience pizza in a completely different way, paired with specially chosen wines. After we cycled a few kilometers to the top of the hill, some snacks are well-deserved, preferably accompanied by some good wines of course, and this is why we choose Mulderbosch. We were welcomed into the tasting room by the smell of melted cheese and the smile of the friendly staff members that have already started preparing the food for us. Sweaty, thirsty and curious, we slide around the table and listen to the beautiful story of Mulderbosch. The vineyard started producing wine in 1989 and has created some amazing brands since then, including ‘South Africa’s most celebrated Sauvignon Blanc’. Their signature brands are the Faithful Hound Range, the Savignon Blanc and of course an amazing noble late harvest

Wine tasting at Mulderbosch on a Bikes 'n Wines Tour
Mulderbosch has a large range to choose from, we make sure to pick our favourites

The general rule of thumb is to start with the white wines and slowly make your way to the reds and sweet dessert wines. We however, were encouraged to try different combinations with the pizza and decide which flavors WE thought worked well together. It was nice making up our own minds during the tasting.

Mulders

The pairings that were put together where the Barrel Fermented Chardonnay (2010) in combination with the Artichoke and Black Olive Pizza, he Cabernet Sauvignon Rose (2013) with the Proscuito, Rocket and Pecorino pizza. A deliscious Portebilini Mushroom pizza with the Yardstick Pinot Noir (2012) – showing that a red wine can be paired wonderfully with a vegitarian dish and a Biltong, Sweet Pepperdew and avo pizza with the Faithful Hound (2012). My absolute favorite however, was the Fig, Blue Cheese and Panchetta pizza, which was paired with Noble late harvest 2011. I am not normally a fan of sweet wine and would never pair a dessert wine with pizza, but the combination was perfect and brought out the sweet flavors of the figs and strengthened the salty taste of the pancetta allowing the wine to show its unique flavors with each bite. Overwhelmed by the explosion of different flavors and beautiful wine, it was time to set off to our next wine and food pairing. But truth to be said, I could have stayed there all day. South African wine and pizza really are the perfect pair!!

Post by: Myrna Van Pinxteren – Marketing

Once upon a time, there was an amazing woman called Maria, who married a winemaker in Stellenbosch by the name of Charles Marais, they decided to start their matrimony as wine farmers and started production on a wine farm called Wolvendans (Dance of Wolves). When her husband died, she was left with the wine-estate and an unfinished Manor House. She took over the farm, completed the house with a feminine touch and expanded the property before to her son in law (Johannes Neethling) took over and the name changed to Neehlingshof. This wine farm is now known as Neethlingshof and located just off the R310 on your way to Stellenbosch . When driving into the estate, you wander back in time and can almost hear the horse drawn carriages that brought honored guests to the Manor House up a tree lined lane over a more than one kilometer long. The former Manor House is now transformed into a beautiful restaurant and the tasting room is attached to the wine cellar.

Neetlingshof Wine Estate
The Manor house echoes the Cape Dutch Architecture that Stellenbosch is so well kwon for

Neethlingshof, which is nowadays part of the corporate Distell Group, offers a variety of wines, divided in three different labels; the Short Story Collection, the Premium Red Wine Collection and the Premium White Wine Collection. As you wander into the tasting room and the friendly staff welcomes you, you can feel the presence of Maria which breaths through the cellars. Not only does Neethlingshof offer guests a wine tasting where you are able to choose between 15 different wines, a wine and food pairing can also be arranged. As our group today is are cold and hungry, we choose the second option and warm our bellies with a range of flavors accompanied by five different wines. The sommelier explains why the dishes on our plate are chosen: “As you can see, all the tapas are real South African dished, made of food that you buy in any grocery store. We want to show you that you do not have to be a chef to make the right choice of wine with your food.” Our five course tasting meal exists of Tomato soup, samosas with home made atchar, bite sized meat balls, a steak sandwich with caramelized onion and chocolate shavings and Malva pudding. – See our tasting review here Sitting close to a wood fire and gazing into the massive wine cellars behind us, the sommelier enlightens us about the story behind the Chenin Blanc, Gewurztraminer, Malbec, The Owl Post Pinotage and the Maria Noble late harvest that is named after the famous Maria.

Bikes 'n Wines Wine Estate History Bikes 'n wines Wine Estate History Bikes 'n wines - Wine Estate History Bikes 'n Wines Wine Estate History Bikes 'n wines - Wine Estate History

  “We nurture the spirit of the ‘first lady’ deeply, and therefore dedicated our sweet dessert wine to her. She is not only displayed by the picture on the wall, but will always be in our hearts when we drink her wine.” The sweet wine which contains more than 220 grams of sugar per liter, matches perfectly with the even sweeter Malva Pudding. The pallet of dried apricots, honey and peach is a perfect conclusion to the pairing. We leave the pairing more than satisfied and when we get back on the bicycle to peddle the long lane back to main road, we have a final look to admire the beautiful legacy that Maria Marais has left behind. Want to taste the legacy of Maria yourself? Join us on one of our tours and be inspired!

Post by: Myrna Van Pinxteren – Marketing

Biltong is a truly South African Experience and a trip to the Winelands would not be the same without it. At La Bri in Franschhoek they offer a sweet (chocolate) and savoury (biltong) pairing I only managed to stay for the biltong pairing but that just gives me an excuse to go back and experience the other tasty delights this charming winery has to offer. We spread out on the luxurious leather couches while the wines where explained to us: The pairing consisted of 3 red wines with 3 different “biltongs” 1. La Bri Merlot 2012 paired with Angus Beef Biltong La Bri merlotGood beef biltong is always great and beef is the general accompaniment to a good red. The salty taste of the biltong brought out a few of the flavours in the merlot that I would not normally have picked up in this subtle vintage. To be honest I seem to have moved away from Merlot as a red wine. I feel the problem with tasting so many delicious wines as a “job”, I am struggling to find a merlot that has a sharp enough taste for it to be very memorable. This is by no means an insult to the wine. I feel it is a great wine that I would be able to drink all evening on a chilly winters night or even slightly chilled in summer (have I become one of those people?) and the salty beef managed to pull a few of the nuances out that enhanced a bit of the flavour for me.   2. La Bri Syrah 2012 paired with Droewors La Bri Syrah Droewors is generally quite a fatty snack, I really liked this with the rich tannins in the Syrah. The mild flavour of the wors did not have a huge effect in the wine itself, it was more the fatty, buttery taste of the droewors that softened the wine and as soon as that tannin was removed, one could linger a bit more of the berry rich tastes (instead of feeling like you have been sucking a dischcloth).     3. La Bri Affinity (Bordeaux blend) 2012 paired with Ostrich Biltong La Bri Affinity I am a huge Bordeaux blend fan and a huge ostrich biltong so I only have praise for this wine. I love looking at everyone else’s glasses after a tasting. You can see which wine was everyone’s favourite by seeing what they drank the most of – every single perosn had finished of this one. The Salt of the biltong brought out the almost cherry sweetness that I have come to love in a bordeaux blend, one that you can almost always find if you look hard enough, the richness of the biltong also worked very well with the richness of the wine to ensure you weren’t completely overwhelmed by either taste and that the wine and biltong complimented each other perfectly.   My review of the La Bri biltong tasting is a short and sweet one, although we did arrive at the wine farm early-ish to start on the red wines, the atmosphere was inviting and the staff friendly, so we did not feel rushed and when you are tasting red wines this early you need to take your time. This was the perfect start to a day in the winelands, and a great way to enjoy 2 of South Africa’s favourites – Red wine and Red meat 🙂

Post by: Tarryn Povey – Operations Manager

When thinking about France, I get nostalgic about long camping holidays in Provence, eating fresh baguettes every day, sipping wine whilst watching people on a terrace in Paris and partaking a great meal at the end of the day – preferably with escargot, duck a L’orange and more wine to accompany the heavenly food. If you want to have a similar experience in the Cape Winelands, Franschhoek is the place to be. This romantic little town which is encircled by the Hottentot Holland Mountain Range and is the place to taste the amazing food that South Africa has to offer. Forget your braai and fish and chips, Franschhoek has its own Haute Cuisine and fine wines which came with the French Hugenots to the Cape and have been perfected ever since! Reason enough to explore this lovely town and its beautiful surroundings in the best way possible – by bicycle! We meet our guide William at Franschhoek Cellars, the meeting point of the tour on the outskirts of the town center. In no-time, he has us kitted out and ready to go on an exciting ride through the Winelands. We start easy today, with 3,5 km of flat road to the first winery, Maison Estate. Here, we taste amazing wines, paired with Stilton cheese, chocolate truffles, biltong and caramel fudge. great view from GlenwoodStill savoring the mouthwatering food and delicious wine, we climb on our bikes to ride to the second stop of our trip –Glenwood wine farm. This petite winery is hidden on the Robertsvlei Road, a dirt road without any traffic for some peaceful off road cycling. As we meander through the valley, we have time to absorb the beauty of the amazing mountain ranges and the green vineyards that are contrast with the blue sky and brown sand roads. When arriving at Glenwood, we are welcomed by the farm workers who are preparing the grapevines for the harvest season. Lizelle, our tasting manager has reserved the best table for us, underneath the trees and overlooking the dam and vineyards. It is busy and the small restaurant is so full that even the winemaker steps in to help. He is running from the cellars to tasting center whilst we enjoy the fabulous Chardonnays and Shiraz’. After these full bodied wines and even better views, it is time to ride to our third stop – La Bri, located on the edge of the town. The road, which is still empty – is now getting a bit steep and I can feel the wine in my legs. Luckily, the climb is short and before we even realize it, we already pass the bridge to La Bri and are ushered into the tasting room – which probably has the most magnificent view in the world! Here, we taste three red wines (click here for the taste review) with different types of Biltong (dried cured meat)- beef, droewors and ostrich biltong. A great experience, as the meat complements the red wine beautifully and the ladies working in the tasting room are friendly and knowledgeable about the products. Sad to leave after this amazing tasting, it is time to cycle the last little stretch of the Franschhoek Tour. We stop for a short break at the Hugenot Momument that was built to commemorate the influence of the French culture in South Africa. Even though only 600 Huguenots came to the Cape in the 17th and 18th century, you can still feel and taste the French influence in the wine making, the names of the farms and the architecture. Whilst cycling through the center of town, we pass many award winning restaurants such as The Tasting Room and Reuben’s. After a lunch in the courtyard of Franschhoek Cellars, we are promised one more wine tasting, paired with either cheese or chocolate. As I am from the Netherlands, I choose the wine and cheese pairing and what a treat it is indeed! The six (!) wines I tasted are all from the Franschhoek Cellar range and the cheese is hand-made from Truckle Traditional Cheese. I simply loved the Boerenkaas with the Statue de Femme Sauvignon Blanc, a creamy gorgonzola with the Old Museum Merlot and the Cumin Boerenkaas with Churchyard Cabernet Sauvignon. Our final tasting was conducted in the newly revamped cellar and you can choose to sit either at the modern bar, the chic cigar lounge or in front of the massive windows overlooking the mountains. With this last pairing, our experience comes to an end! And what a day it was…. Wine, cheese, biltong, chocolate and so much more! Enjoy your active and culinary day in the ‘French Corner’ and book your Franschhoek Experience now!

In February, Bikes ‘n Wines invited a selection of journalists to enjoy the Winelands with us during a Harvest Media Trip. Result; a great day on bicycles with an amazing bunch of journalists, bloggers, vloggers and cycling activists.

Read, listen and watch their experiences with Bikes ‘n Wines in the Winelands below and book your tour now!

 

 

Mike Eloff Video Life of Mike (#TheLawry)

 

Kirsten Wilkens Blog Bicycle Cape Town

Samantha Linsell Blog Taste & Titbits

Lisa Wallace Article Cape Town ETC

Elise Kirsten Article Ride Magazine South Africa

 

tasteandtitbitsmallLisa Wallace 2 copy

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Are you a student and looking for some fun stuff to do before going back to university? Book your Bikes ‘n Wines Tour and get 20% discount! Book via bookings@bikesnwines.com or +27(0)218238790 (only for students with a valid student card). Click HERE to see the different routes we have on offer!

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Do you want to surprise your lover with a romantic day out this Valentine’s Day?

We have the perfect give for you! Book your Bikes ‘n Wines tour between 9 – 15 of February and get a FREE bottle of BUBBLY!

Make your booking now via bookings@bikesnwines.com or Tel: +27(0)218238790 and enjoy your Valentine’s Day in Style! Click here to see all the tours we have on offer!

 

 

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