Turn Up The Heat
Ernie Els wines have arguably set fire to the most sophisticated braai experience in the Cape Winelands this summer. We never take the immense wine tourism offering on our doorstep for granted, and we never get tired of a trip to visit Ernie Els Wines and its neighbouring wineries in the Helderberg and Stellenbosch Appellation. This renowned viticultural area is located at the foot of the Helderberg, one of the most beautiful settings the wine tourism heart can dream of. Entering Ernie Els wines, the offering exudes class from its Khoi fishponds nestled between gigantic boulders to entering the tasting room hallway that opens on a fishbowl tapestry of vineyards and mountains that will take your breath away.
Ernie Els Winery is framed by panoramic views of Cape Town and Table Mountain to the west and Stellenbosch and the Helderberg mountains to the east.
The wines are skilfully crafted by winemaking legend Louis Strydom and named after South African golf legend Ernie Els. The Major Series Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 has received 4.5 stars in Platters, Top 10 in Winemag and Veritas Double Gold.
Visitors can enjoy a selection of wine tastings accompanied by cheese and charcuterie boards. Book a table to enjoy their farm-style cuisine or visit over the weekend for a superb steak while seeing the grillworks in action.
“If anything good came from the past two years, we learned to spend our time more wisely. The moment one steps foot into the Ernie Els Wines tasting room, you are mesmerised by the attention to detail that has gone into every nook, and the word ‘iconic’ takes shape as you move through the space. Wait until you taste the wines … Samarie Smith WsetDip.
MATCHMAKING CABERNET SAUVIGNON
WITH RED MEAT
- Cab is King they say, and so is the braai when you ask a South African how they plan to spend their weekend. The intrinsic value Cabernet Sauvignon offers foodies is that its tannin structure welcomes protein, fat and rich sauces without it compromising the wine.
- Meats done on the grill have an added smoky flavour that can quickly diminish the delicate notes of red fruit-driven wines. As for Cabernet Sauvignon’s beguiling intensity, it enhances the fruit and subdues the earthy nuances.
- A good Cabernet Sauvignon, especially once it shows some of its sought after ageing characteristics, have incredible layers of flavour that should take precedent when enjoying meat from the grill. Keep the flavour simple, and let the textures be your guide. The tannin of Cabernet Sauvignon welcomes protein and fat, which ease their astringency, making the wine glide like silk over your palate.
- When you choose a hamburger from the grillworks at Ernie Els Wines, more elements are to consider. Most cheeses have high acidity and can compromise wines with lower acidity. Since we know Cabernet Sauvignon pretty much has it all, a softer cheese like camembert is an excellent choice as its texture will also add to a velvety feel and highlight the savoury character of the wine.
- If you love your basting sauce, add a dash of the Cabernet Sauvignon into it. Avoid ready-made basting sauces as the sweetness can easily make a quality Cabernet Sauvignon appear stark and lifeless and ruin your experience of the wine. The same goes for tomato sauce and mustard. Let the wine and the well-aged piece of meat be the heroes.
The space that welcomes you at Ernie Els Wines is designed to offer you something new with every visit. Both the tasting room, restaurant, barrel cellar and outside surrounds makes your head turn with cosy nooks to lush textures and welcoming relaxed areas. There is even a Tee-off box just outside the tasting room to and hit a few balls into the abyss of nature’s beauty.
Happy to report that their menu is simple – simply delicious too – but that they have kept it small enough to excel in every element on offer. South Africans love the outdoors, and the Ernie Els team intends to add a dash of class to what we refer to as a traditional braai with their grillworks. Their sophisticated, imported grillworks are complete with a lovely outdoorsy space overlooking the Winelands. If you peek next to the grillworks, you will see the specially equipped rooms where locally sourced meats are aged on-site. Rumps and T-bones are dry-aged for a minimum of 35 days, waiting to be flame grilled over their impressive grillworks. This seasonal offering joins their already famous farmhouse cuisine and operates on their restaurant terrace from Fridays to Sundays. Being weather-dependent, one can always retreat to one of their beautiful indoor spaces.
Headed up by cellar master Louis Strydom, a member of the Cape Winemakers Guild, they produce four different wine collections: Signature, Major Series, Big Easy and Proprietors. Fitting the theme, Light My Fire, we are opening a bottle of their Major Series Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 to enjoy with a 250g dry-aged rump steak and a Camembert Beef Steak Burger – topping the rump in size with a whopping 300g patty.
Cabernet Sauvignon flourishes on the warm north-facing slopes of the Helderberg region. The high gravel content of the Hutton Clovelly soils assists with drainage and even ripening. In addition, the Atlantic Ocean is only 15km away, cooling the vineyards at the peak of summer. The best fruit is selected and vinified separately for greater blending options, a huge benefit having different blocks and clones planted on the estate.
Why Cabernet Sauvignon? This noble variety is as loved by South Africans as is a good Saturday braai with friends and family. The Helderberg and Stellenbosch are synonymous with elegant and characterful Cabernet Sauvignon and serve the carnivorous South African lifestyle; it offers everything and more to complete your grillworks experience.
At a glance, the wine offers the intensity this cultivar is known for, and five years in bottle only benefited the layers of aromas that reaches your nose. The colour is still as vivid and vibrant, emitting vibrant flashes of ruby when you swirl it. The wine is incredibly giving with lush aromas of blueberry, blackberry, cassis, ripe plums and mulberries wrapped in beautiful violet perfume. Whiffs of chocolate, cedar, polished English leather, and freshly tilled earth are hovering on the edges without interfering with the fruit purity. Still, the intensity and concentration of fruit is what arrests your senses and entices you to dive in.
The wine fills every corner of your mouth, engulfing your palate like liquid velvet without being tiring. Instead, an ethereal quality helps it glide over your midpalate – announcing itself with firm and bold tannin. Feeling the brightness and freshness spilling right to the back of your mouth, leaving a gravelly trail of firm and well-integrated tannin. You need to run your tongue a few times along the rim of your lips as the tannin leaves a powerful presence begging for a piece of meat to wash it down.
See it for yourself
To have your wine featured and reviewed, please contact us.
Samarie +27 82 072 5451
Georgio +27 83 326 3016