Delaire Graff, the jewel of the Cape Winelands…
Delaire Graff, the jewel of the Cape Winelands, and no other descriptor could be more fitting. Whether you’re a foodie, a wino, a lover of landscaping or art, or all of these combined, Delaire needs to be on your Stellenbosch itinerary. Even as a local, I can’t get enough of this spot and I have been fortunate enough to see the look on holidaymakers faces – both fellow citizens and overseas tourists – when they experience the estate for the first time. It etches onto your memory and nothing will shift it. This is precisely what happened to Laurence Graff, Owner, who first visited the spot in 2003 and was so mesmerised that he went on become its loving parent.
Delaire Graff oozes luxury and exuberance set against one of the most idyllic backdrops in the world. As you climb the driveway en route to the parking area, or even drive past it on your wine sojourns, no one can fail to think that a piece of Tuscany’s landscape has been accidentally misplaced on this stretch of the Helshoogte Pass. So, why does it warrant a visit from you? Well, let’s see if any of these tickle your fancy… fine-dining meals set across two exquisite restaurants, tantalising wine tastings, tranquil spa treatments, art for the eyes, boutique shopping for the soul, together with magnificent gardens and world-class luxury lodge accommodation. If this doesn’t entice you, then nothing will. Anyone for a 24-karat gold indulgence facial? Us Saffas may have to bow out of this R3000-odd pamper treatment, but that doesn’t need exclude the rest seeking to take advantage of our (un)favourable exchange rate.
Make no mistake, a trip to Delaire can quite easily rack up an amount, but this absolutely need not deter one from visiting. I was fortunate enough to have lunch there recently and I was more dizzy from the views than from the wine or bill. Their cost-comparable wine tasting is a fantastic excuse to pay a visit and during this you can take in the architecture, the art and landscape, tiered-gardens, meander around the boutiques and check out the restaurant and spa menus. I sense you know you’ll be back. Only to entice you further, the estate is situated on the slopes of the Botmaskop Mountain and at first glance, you’d be forgiven for thinking this is indeed a piece of heaven on earth. Here you will find the beginnings of some truly exquisite wine, where the vineyards stretch with plantings of Bordeaux reds boasting enticing promise of what’s to come.
Most aptly named and well worth passing over your tastebuds is Delaire’s Botmaskop 2014. Following a wet winter in 2013 and some uncertainty over the new vintage, this smooth red states loud and clear that there was nothing to worry about. It is rich and alluring on the nose with aromas of blackcurrant, mulberry and soft spices. The palate is full and shows off dark berry fruit, some dried herbs and liquorice, with subtle and silky tannins from its 18-months in French oak making for a truly beautiful finish. Enjoy it now, but certainly make sure you have a spare bottle to open in five or so years.
This gem goes for R225 at cellar door but at R180 through the Wade Bales Wine Society. Not something to refuse, especially when taking into account the saving on a case of 12 (going for R2160). A neat R540 to funnel back into your wine bank. Now that’s almost smoother than the tannins.