Perched on top of a hill, overlooking False Bay as well as the mighty Helderberg Mountains, along Sir Lowry’s Pass Road and far from the main wine routes, lies one if Stellenbosch’s best kept secrets: Waterkloof.
Nature plays the leading role at Waterkloof; from the tasting room and restaurant where the surrounding nature (vineyards, mountains and the sea) visually enters into the spacious building through impossibly big windows; to the carefully composed meals made from local, sustainably farmed and seasonal products; and the biodynamically produced wines.
Waterkloof’s aim is to produce” honest” wines that reflect the terroir of the area, but also the circumstances of that particular harvest – in particular the weather: sun, rain and wind. Little wonder then, that one of their ranges is called “Circumstance”. The grapes are grown using biodynamic farming methods meaning that chemical fertilizers and pesticides are avoided, and that care is taken to ensure that the farm is in tune with its natural environment in order to create a diverse, balanced ecosystem that generates health and fertility as much as possible from within the farm itself. All grapes are hand-picked, and vineyard work like pruning and harvesting is done in accordance with moon, sun, earth and planet phases to get the most out of each growth cycle. This philosophy has given name to another of Waterkloof’s ranges: “Circle of Life”.
In the restaurant, chef Gregory Czarnecki creates seasonally inspired menus using the same philosophy. Dishes like Scallop Ceviche with cauliflower and curry, Duck Breast with mango cream, burned leeks, red pepper dust and soya or Mulloway Cob with squid ink and smoked potato will have you spoilt for choice. Each dish is a riot of tastes, textures and colours without taking attention away from the main ingredient. Despite the elaborate descriptions and creative presentations, the food is uncomplicated and the sides simply provide a stage for the main ingredient to shine on. Very refreshing in this time of molecylar gastronomy where it sometimes seems the dish with the most complexity wins! Oh, and the menu comes with wine-pairing suggestions from Waterkloof’s own wines.
For a complete, and utterly indulgent, experience I recommend a long and lazy lunch a Waterkloof. Start off with a winetasting and then move over to your table, overlooking the vineyards and Helderberg mountains, to enjoy the most delightful food and wine expertly paired. Take your coffee on the balcony for stunning views of False Bay (on a clear day, you can see all the way to Cape Point), and round your afternoon off with a leisurely walk through the fynbos garden.
Chef Czarnecki has promised to share one of his wonderful recipes with us, so keep your eyes peeled!
Waterkloof Wines: www.waterkloofwines.co.za