On Sunday we decided to venture out and try a place we had never been before. So, after some searching, we settled on Avondale Wine Farm. Avondale’s ethos is “Terra Est Vita” (“Soil is Life”), and it’s reflected throughout – from the organic, slowly made wines, to Faber’s farm to table approach to food. As we arrived, we greeted by the noisy chickens in the “egg mobile” and walked along the flowers, vibrant against the low-hanging clouds and impressive mountainous backdrop, to the front door.
As we were early for our lunch appointment, we decided to partake in a wine tasting. Our entertaining and informative liaison took us through each of the wines, as well as the history of the farm itself. On the bottles, we were shown the logos, and how it, as well as the wine names, all lead back to the farm’s ethos.
We tasted five of their wines (excluding a glass of the Armilla, their MCC, which we were presented as a welcome drink):
Anima, a sweet and smooth Chenin Blanc;
Cyclus, a character filled white blend;
Camissa a fresh and zesty Blanc de Noir;
Samsara, a full bodied Syrah; and
La Luna, a classic Bordeaux Blend, a reflection of how Avondale is attuned to cosmic influences and rhythms.
As a huge fan of the moon, I loved hearing about how Avondale fine tunes its activities in line with the phases of the moon, as the moon represents the influence of the universe on our living system.
After completing our tasting, we made our way across to FABER – a contemporary farm-to-fork restaurant that approaches each ingredient with the utmost respect, and uses fresh and organic ingredients to produce amazing dishes. We decided on the winter special – a three course set menu, with wine.
On seating, we were presented with a bread board containing the fluffiest and most mouth-watering pumpkin fritters – I honestly wish they served them as a dessert because I could’ve eaten an entire plate of them. Our delightful and knowledgeable waiter also brought along a complimentary jug of freshly made lemonade to enjoy with them.
Our starter was caramelized leek, cream cheese, toasted walnut, aged Boerenkaas, pickled garlic and friend Avondale hens egg. This was paired with a glass of the Avondale Jonty’s Duck White. This was by far my favourite dish – the flavours interacted with each other beautifully.
For our mains, we had the Kalk Bay Cape Bream, charred broccoli, zucchini, green beans, curly kale and salted peanuts. This was paired with a glass of the Avondale Jonty’s Duck Red, and served with a side of chips, and charred broccoli with cheese (I desperately need to know how they turned charred broccoli into such a delicious treat)!
Finally, dessert was a soft dark chocolate mousse, borage flowers and dried, fresh and puree orange which was good, but slightly overpowering with all the orange.
After lunch we took a stroll through the cellar, which has a sloped floor to rely on gravity-flow, to facilitate a high quality, slow wine production. We also got to see the Qvevri – ancient ancient clay vessels from the country Georgia dating back over 8000 years. Avondale is the first in South Africa to utilise Qvevri in their winemaking and the results are delicious (we also got to try the Qvevri Chenin Blanc and Qvevri Red after!)
A beautiful farm, I will definitely be back for an Eco Wine Safari. After enquiring about the ducks on a nearby poster (and whether I could pat them), I was told that they had weekends off (they work as nature’s pesticide by eating the snails in the vineyards) but that we could see them on the tour, so I’m very excited to do that next time!