I asked a few of my friends if they knew where the Nuy valley was, the only answer I received were a few raised eyebrows and plenty blank stares. This beautiful valley can be found approximately 90 minutes from Cape Town, nestled snugly between Worcester and Robertson.
Leipzig Country House & Winery is situated in the Nuy Valley at the foot of the Rabie Mountains. This was where I was heading, looking to take full advantage of their “Wine Sleepover” package which consisted of a welcome drink on arrival, a five course dinner including wine pairing as well as accommodation for the evening, a lovely farmhouse breakfast and complimentary bottle of wine.
Driving the short dusty road to Leipzig, it was not difficult to understand the love affair between the Smit family and their farm, which has been in the family for generations. So much history is retained in oral tradition, passed on from one generation to the next and the history of this farm is just such a story.
The farm encapsulates country living, with careful consideration given to retaining some the original rustic architecture, to give one an “old world” feel, but with the entire ambit of modern amenities one could want such as flat screen TV’s , air conditioning and complimentary wifi (a necessity for so many of us).
After taking in the breath-taking views of the countryside, majestic mountains and grape valleys, we freshened up and made our way to the reception area, which housed the original wine cellar, where we were greeted with friendly smiles as we enjoyed our welcome drinks. This historic building is beautifully adorned with fresco-art depicting the ancestry of the farm.
Not before long we were ushered into the beautifully decorated dining area, introduced to Alida Bester (the youngest daughter of Smit family) who now runs the farm with her husband Vian.
- Our first course was a sweet melon gazpacho with toasted almonds paired with the Viognier 2015, fruity and floral tones of orange blossoms and apricots and just a hint of acidity. Loved this combination of fresh and fruity. It was a sensory delight.
- Our second course was Salmon Gravlax, baby beets and homemade crème fraiche paired with the Leipzig Sauvignon Blanc. Sublime!
- The third dish was the Chicken Ballotine with goat’s cheese and roasted pepper stuffing, butternut volute and honey roasted walnuts, this was served with White Leipzig, a modern incarnation of an award-winning wine with an interesting back story. Legend has it, that this wine was enjoyed so much by Queen Elizabeth (then Princess Elizabeth) that she ordered cases of this wine as she celebrated her 21st Birthday in Cape Town while visiting. A lovely wine made with Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Viognier
- Next was the generous portion of pork belly with smoked mashed potatoes, a lovely addition to this course, just slightly smoky but delicious. Served with green beans wilted spinach and a cider jus. Served with the Leipzig Grand Master 2015
- Finally we come to the Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta with a spicy strawberry jelly which was accompanied by the Pinotage 2014.
Each pairing was accompanied by a tale from the Cellar Manager Vian, either of the farm, its descendants, or the origin of the lovely wine we were consuming. Vian’s wife Alida, being the consummate hostess, mingled with the guests while topping up wine glasses.
After dinner we made our way to the “Honesty Bar” which is a novel idea. Guests help themselves to the bar and jot down what they consume for their tab. A brave gesture, as memories do tend to fade as the night wears on.
Leipzig and its surrounds have lots to offer the weary traveller in search of respite from the crazy city rush, unpretentious and ready to please. A lovely adaptation of modern country living, with an interesting history.
contributed by Mario Arendse