A few weekends back, I packed my bags for a weekend of glamping with friends in Franschhoek, so that we could get to enjoy one of my favourite wine festivals, Franschhoek Uncorked, and to explore all the different wineries to their fullest while stocking up on our weekend wine finds.
The participating wineries in the Franschhoek Valley use this event to showcase the new releases of their exciting vintages...and even better, some of the more wise wine estates use the opportunity to display their full range of wines in the hope that you'll become a die hard fan. The estates that presented a larger amount of their wine range (entry-premium) is where I ended up spending the most as I got to taste a bigger selection of what the estate offers, and discovered which of their wines appealed to me....and those are the estates that I'll most likely end up returning to.
Each estate offered some fun in the form of live musical entertainment and delicious culinary delights to soak up all the vino. Collectively they all put on a very good vibe; each one offering something different to enjoy. When it came to the wines on display, however, I definitely don't think all the estates came to the party. My advise to them would be first impressions are everything, you may not get another chance to impress or have individuals at your estate doors...so show off your wines and enjoy the benefit of increase wine sales.
Out of the nine stop overs these were the four that I enjoyed the most and that I felt put in a great effort: Black Elegant Vintners, Glenwood, La Bourgone and Holden Manz.
Black Elephant Vintners
This was by far my favourite of the weekend and from the general conversations with other wine festival goers the feeling was mutual. The team at Black Elephant Vintners put on a fantastic cake and wine pairing, featuring nine of the wines ranging between R100-R300+ paired with moreish morsels of divine confectionery ~ I was in heaven.
There a was more than enough shady spots to relax and soak up the atmosphere while enjoying the live music with my mates.
Food wise they offered delicious fresh oysters to pair with their Methode Cap Classic (a favourite MCC of mine).
This was my favourite new find of the weekend, my friends and I loved it here! On arrival they were pouring a sample of their gorgeous GML Viognier which was incredibly refreshing and moreish with feminine floral notes of Jasmine and a hint of masculine spice. I'm sorely regretting not coming back with a case, but as they were my second last stop of the weekend my wine piggy bank was starting to dwindle.
La Bourgone were also pouring wine samples of their full range at no extra cost for those interested in purchasing wines to take home or buying a bottle to enjoy on the day. They were also offering incredible Franschhoek Uncorked discounts on their wines, that proved impossible to resits (went home with their Semillion, Melbec and Syrah). I'm not sure many people realized this and unfortunately only discovered their Viognier that weekend.
An awesome surprise on our visit, was that Franschhoek Craft Distillery was there and making some really refreshing smashable cocktails. The Franschhoek Distillery grows all their own fruits organically to make beautiful hand crafted spirits. the range consist of the Absinthe, Slivovic and Gin, all made from the Shiraz and plums that grow on their farm. I really enjoyed this offering and it was nice change to something different from wine.
La Bourgogne has a large beautiful enclosed garden surrounded by orchards and vineyards. My daughter and her friend had a wonderful time enjoying their playground, jumping castle and exploring, while we the adults sipped some wine.
I must give an A+ to La Bourgogne on the atmosphere of the day and quality of the wines. Cant wait to come visit again, please invite me soon!
Holden Manz was also a great new find for me, special brownie points for their warm and welcoming staff and delicious wines.
Really liked the food options available: De-luxe Wagyu burgers, salmon wraps and freshly baked chocolate brownies...tummy growl.
They were also offering an oyster and Rosé special: 6 fresh oysters (3 wild and 3 cultivated) and a bottle of new release Holden Manz Rosé 2019 for only R275! I didn't do this special but saw a lot of people were enjoying it.
Glenwood has been a Franschhoek favourite winery of mine for awhile now. This charming boutique winery is unknown to most as its completely off the beaten track, hidden and tucked away with no winery neighbors. What first captivated was the dramatic boasting views of the mountains wrapped around the flat vineyards and of course their wines. They make exceptional Chardonnay. I’d never turn down a Glenwood Chardonnay; I'm such a fan, they really know what they’re doing when it comes to this grape varietal.
This was my first time stopping over at the estate while they were participating in the Franschhoek Uncorked festival and was very happy to discover they were pouring three different types of their Chardonnay. As Glenwood is quite off the beaten track, dirt road and all...it wasn’t overly crawling with wined festival goers and we easily found a shady spot. We opted to snack on some of their barbecued food offerings. Their sosaties still make my mouth water thinking about them (super affordable at R20 and basting was insanely delicious!).
So all and all, will I be back for next years Uncorked? Absolutely, I need to visit my above new favourites and fill my car boot to the brim with their gorgeous wines. I also have so much more to discover in the Franschhoek when it come to the estates; I didn’t have time to see....till next year Franschhoek Uncorked, I’ll be back!