It’s been a while since we visited any of our favourite wine estates in Stellenbosch. So, over the Easter weekend, we decided to re-discover Muratie Wine Estate and have a long overdue catch up with our good friends at the same time.
Our New Year’s resolution this year with them specifically, was that we were going to make time for each other at least once a month. They live in Stellenbosch; we live in Wellington. It’s only 45 kilometres for crying out loud. But do you think we’re able to stick to that resolution? No! Life keeps getting in the way while we make plans…
Muratie has been a favourite of ours for a long time, mostly because of the exquisite ports they produce. We were quite shocked to realize, when we started counting back, that it’s been about 5 years since our last visit, we confess! In fact, the last time we stopped in after taking an(other) American friend to Delheim, we commented that Muratie suddenly had tables, chairs and umbrellas outside. How lovely. We must try that soon.
Well, “soon” turned out to be more than 5 years later. The first shock on arrival at their Farm Kitchen on that Easter Saturday was all the cars parked outside. And not just in one parking area, but three…! (We did actually manage to get there around normal people’s lunchtime for a change). The second shock was being greeted by the hostess, “Hello, welcome! Do you have a reservation?”
A reservation? No, we don’t have a reservation. Last time we were here you were only just starting to think of setting up a restaurant! Why would we need a reservation for goodness sake?
Thankfully, she made a plan for us quickly and easily and we were soon settled and happy. Our next surprise was how lovely and varied the menu was – see below.
Good food, good wine, good times
Plenty of good dishes to choose from. Actually, we’d googled the best cheese and wine platters on wine estates in Stellenbosch that morning, because that’s what we felt like. But we ended up ordering the very yummy bobotie samoosas to start. Kath and Steve had the cheese and charcuterie platter and we had the Lady Alice Quiche and the Haloumi & Avocado Salad, with a lovely bottle (actually, three) of Melck’s Sauvignon Blanc. Rijk Melck, our friends tell us (who know the family from lodge days) is personally involved in a lot of the Muratie wines.
What a wonderfully social afternoon, with lots of laughter and the usual stories associated with our catch-ups. Great food, service and wine made it extra special.
A rich history in the Stellenbosch wine region
One of the reasons we love this place so much is its rich history. Just look at the first pic above and the unique cobwebs tell you all you need to know! This wine estate is real. It dates back to 1685 when it was granted by then-Governor of the Cape of Good Hope, Simon van der Stel. This makes it one of the oldest estates in the country and I don’t know about you, but we definitely prefer visiting these to the brand spanking new, shiny and modern wine estates. Not that there’s anything wrong with them at all, mind you. They just don’t have history.
Even before Muratie set up their restaurant, it was always a must-stop for us on our visits to wine estates in Stellenbosch. First and foremost to replenish our port stock! But I just loved walking into the cool, dark tasting room with its old Cape Dutch architecture and half-a-metre-thick walls and breathing in the musty smell of fermenting grapes. You can just smell it, can’t you…
So, of course, after lunch, we popped into the tasting room to buy some of our favourite port (Cape Ruby). This is still, in our opinion, the most to-die-for port you’ll ever have. Perfect for the cold, rainy Cape winter evenings in front of the fire that we know and pray are coming soon. Praying for the rain, that is. Not necessarily the cold! But, we’ve become used to the fact that in the Western Cape, unlike in the Bushveld, the two go hand-in-hand. So, we’re looking forward to sharing some cosy winter spots with you in the near future.
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Until next time!