In the siren town of Franschhoek, the self-proclaimed Culinary Capital of the Western Cape, it can be difficult to pick out wineries that stand out from the rest, that are a pleasure to visit for the whole family, where wines are good, food can be had, and views are superb. Difficult, yes, but not impossible.
One of my favourites is Allée Bleue, almost at the T junction where the road from Stellenbosch joins the one to Franschhoek. The Drakenstein Mountains gaze benevolently over this treasure.
In addition to their excellent Cape Ruby which we are not allowed to call Port, there are three ranges available. The Starlette range is user friendly, quaffable wine—the Rouge, intense and spicy, Pinotage, classically South African, Starlette Blanc, with well-balanced acids and plenty of fruit, and the MCC, deliciously fruity and gaily packaged, and the Rosé—with candy apple fragrances.
The middle range is somewhat more serious—a Cab Sav/ Merlot blend, dark and mysterious, the Bordeaux style blend called L ’Amour Toujours (don’t you think that’s terribly expressive?), hefty on the palate, a Shiraz and a Pinotage. Two whites, a Chenin and a Sauvignon Blanc, and a delicious white blend called Isabeau complete the picture.
The Tasting Room is elegant without being stuffy and intimidating like some of them —and you do not have to be a fundi to enjoy yourself here.
You can also enjoy Chicnics at Allée Bleue – a wonderful way for family and friends to enjoy an afternoon out.
Allée Bleue, On The R45, Groot Drakenstein, 021 874 1021
Words: Greg Landman
As the wine writer for Country Life magazine for the last 15 years, Greg has met and interviewed more than 150 of the country’s top wine makers. His articles offer unique insights into where to eat, what to drink, and where to go all over the Western Cape. With his dining companion Beryl Ormsby Browne, he has also reviewed more than 60 country restaurants for the magazine and has been a reviewer for the prestigious Eat Out Guide for 12 years. His passion for everything the winelands has to offer has led him into the world of wine tours. To find out more, visit his website Magic Grape Tours.