The Hidden Pearl of Paarl


Situated on the foothills of Paarl’s majestic Drakenstein Mountains is the historic wine estate Laborie with its rolling lawns, vineyards, oak trees, kaleidoscope gardens and old Cape Dutch architecture. Encapsulated in timeless appeal, Laborie is listed in the ranks of South Africa's oldest wine producing estates, granted to Isaac Taillefert in 1691 the estate started producing wines 7 years later in 1698.

I stumbled on Laborie whilst looking for an estate to do a bit of wine tasting and a relaxed lunch for my weekends trip to visit the Alpacas at Alpacas Loom in Paarl. Previously I hadn't actually heard about the estate or their Taillefert wines, but noticed it was 7 minutes away from the Alpacas, so I decide to dive in blind and take a gamble and hope for the best and thank my lucky stars as I was about to discover a truly incredible hidden gem.

Upon arriving, not knowing what to expect, I was immediately impressed with the pristine condition and picturesque beauty of the estate whilst driving up to their manor house to do some wine tasting. Scenically the estate ticked all the boxes but how would their wine fare?

Well, it just so happened that I was absolutely blown away by the quality of the wines at Laborie (Please note that Laborie label is owned by KWV and is now separate from the estate, the full range can be found at KWV Wine Emporium). The wines you’ll taste at the estate are from the Taillefert range and Erasmus family and the grapes are sourced from different wine growing regions, not only Paarl.

Taillefert range:

Crémant De Taillefert Brut MCC

This MCC was outstanding, I’ve added it to my top 10 favourite MCC’s. It was incredibly moreish, balanced with soft elegant notes of creamy lemon biscuit and had a refreshingly addictive finish.

Taillefert Pinot Noir Beautiful on the nose with jammy plum and rosie appeal, on the palate, I felt it lacked complexity and fell flat, so I left it to breathe a bit in the glass and moved on to the other wines. Upon return, it had opened up and reflected what I had smelt on the nose in a gentle feminine mouthful, I'm super glad I gave this wine a second chance to impress.

Taillefert Chenin Blanc The Chenin Blanc was a wonderful surprise as it was wooded, I’m a massive fan of wooded Chenin and this one didn’t disappoint, it had a great mouthful of soft butter and naughty zesty lemon ~ grapes from Swartland

Taillefert Chardonnay Excellent Chard, reminded me of an Elgin Chardonnay, but grapes came from Paarl, so very well done as Elgin Chardonnay's are in a whole class of their own ~ again was very impressed Erasmus family wines

Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot ~ all absolutely excellent

Wine Tastings R50.00 for 6 wines

Overall opinion on the wines

I love them all! was such a pleasant surprise, can't recommend them enough!

Restaurants

Laborie has two restaurants on their estate, both are family friendly with jungle gyms and kid-friendly dishes.

Pearl Rock Terrace Offers simple tapas, salads and pizza for light lunches paired with beautiful vineyard views.

Cucina Di Giovanni Offers a flavoursome Mediterranean style menu of classics like pizzas, pasta and risottos.

I choose to have my lunch on the patio as it was a gorgeous spring day. The staff were attentive and friendly, food was generously plated and tasty and it had a very relaxing atmosphere.

Accommodation Yes, four-star accommodation comprising of seven luxury double rooms and 1 deluxe suite, all furnished in a Cape French style.

Key qualities of Laborie Family Estate Historic Estate Outstanding Wines Picturesque grounds & scenery

Overall I’m overjoyed to have discovered this hidden gem and urge you to put it on your bucket list, please feel free to tag me (the.wine.fox) in your Instagram post's if you do decide to visit, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

My itinerary tip suggestion ~ in partnership with iHeart Africa Tours

Start the day at Alpaca Loom visiting the cutest fluff balls around, R10 gets you a bucket of feed and the Alpacas residents are more than happy to feed out of your hand and get neck tickles. There's also a lovely shop to buy Alpaca wool products.

Head to Fairview (6 min drive) Visit the goats at the goats tower then go and enjoy some cheese and wine tasting. Beryl Back Tasting R80/PERSON 8 Wines, Selection of Cheeses, Olive Oil or Wine & Cheese Tasting R40/PERSON 6 Wines, Selection of Cheeses

Off to Laborie (7 min drive) Wine tasting & Lunch

If you still haven't been indulged enough head through to the Spice Route to end the day with chocolate tasting among many foodie and drink experiences

THE END, TILL NEXT TIME WINE WARRIORS

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