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.
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.
“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