Groot Phesantekraal Farm - The discovery of a hidden rural gem

MAY 18, 2018

While wandering far and wide in the Cape Winelands, travelers and wine-lovers may well have overlooked a gem right in their midst: Groot Phesantekraal Farm, peacefully hidden on the outskirts of Durbanville. Once a reposing farm with rolling wheatlands, vineyards, grazing cows and sheep, this historic estate has latterly seen a quiet evolution, elevating it to the top of any wine explorer’s to-do list this summer.

Fourth generation owners, André and Ronelle Brink, are in celebration mode at Groot Phesantekraal: celebrating the 320th anniversary of their historic farm which dates back to 1698, just over 120 years of Brink family ownership, the launch of their maiden Cap Classique and Pinotage, and the release of new vintage wines in rebranded packaging, including the 2017 Sauvignon Blanc (winner of a 2017 Veritas Double Gold and a prestigious place amongst the 2017 FNB Top 10 Sauvignon Blancs).

Just 20 minutes from Cape Town, tucked within the Tygerberg Hills, the drive into the estate is along a farm road alongside vineyards and beautiful green fields where sheep and cows are grazing. It’s dead quiet except for a few farm animal sounds. All traces of city life are forgotten as you reach the end of the road. A wonderful welcome awaits you: beautiful gardens, historic white-washed buildings and spectacular views across the valley.

Here and there a farm dog lolls in the shade while hens and chicks potter around. This is tranquillity at its best. This is the historic Groot Phesantekraal, where you are about to be spoilt with an excellent selection of wines and exquisitely presented gourmet food in their beautifully restored restaurant housed in the farm’s original stable.

WINE TASTING

Enter the recently renovated tasting room where the central feature is a wall of shelves lined with classic glass bottles containing a vast selection of herbs, spices and teas. Sip Groot Phesantekraal wines and awaken your tasting senses by comparing your experience with over 100 scents stacked up against the wall: black cardamom, szechuan pepper, eucalyptus, nougat, cut-grass, coconut, cloves, ginger, vanilla, cumin seeds… to name just a few.

In addition to the range of wines, Groot Phesantekraal’s very own extra virgin olive oil is available at the tasting room for R70 a bottle. Next door is the original chicken coop where private tastings are held. Or perhaps you prefer an informal outdoor tasting on the grassy terrace where you can enjoy a delectable cheese and charcuterie platter while sipping your wine and gazing across vineyards and farmlands.

RESTAURANT

One of the oldest farms in Durbanville, the rich heritage is woven into the very fabric of the estate, most notably in the elegantly rustic restaurant located in the original stable that dates back to 1767: a charming mixture of past and present. The white-washed plastered walls, original stone floors, open-beam thatched roof and original feeding troughs blend seamlessly with modern touches and wonderful views over the rolling hills and mountains beyond.

The menus, based on a combination of contemporary country style and traditional cooking, provide hearty, wholesome meals; a perfect foil to the farm’s wines. The small but eclectic menu changes according to seasonal availability as much of the produce used is sourced on the farm. Current favourites Slow-Braised Pork Belly; Boneless Lamb Loin Pan Fried in Rosemary, Garlic and Butter with a Herb Crust; and Pan-Seared Line-Caught Catch of the Day with Pea and Spinach Risotto.

Run by husband and wife team, Maret and Juan van Deventer, the restaurant is very popular for its Saturday brunch, the only wine farm in the valley to offer one - and offers breakfast and lunch from Tuesdays to Fridays.

GROOT PHESANTEKRAAL WINES

With four generations of grape farming weaved into the Brink family’s story, André and Ronelle fulfilled a life-long dream in 2005 when they launched their own family wine brand, Phizante Kraal Wine, in very small quantities:  Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Sauvignon Blanc and two Chenin Blancs. The wines were made for the Brinks by family friend, Thys Louw (Diemersdal Estate).

Blessed with great terroir and skilled winemaking, the wines were very well received, earning Durbanville Terroir Awards, Michelangelo medals as well as Top 20 and Top 10 Sauvignon Blanc awards. The past couple of years have seen some changes. Etienne Louw of Altydgedacht has taken over as winemaker and all the wines have been rebranded. Phizante Kraal, one of the names of the farm during its long history, has been changed to the current name of the farm, Groot Phesantekraal, and the new wine labels include the Brink family crest. 

Contact Franchisee Maritsa Beattie
Cape Town North contact number 083 658 3948
Cape Town North email address maritsa@homefoodandtravel.co.za