I’ve always been in love with the Cape Winelands. While I regularly visit wine estates in the Durbanville Wine Valley and Stellenbosch, I rarely take the drive to Franschhoek. Holden Manz wine estate calls itself Franschhoek’s hidden gem. Coincidentally, I’m a discoverer of hidden gems but I’m ashamed to say I’d never been to the wine valley’s gem. That all changed when an invitation was extended to join them at their Franschhoek Kitchen restaurant for a winter wine pairing lunch.
Welcome to Holden Manz wine estate -Franschhoek’s hidden gem
We arrive at Holden Manz wine estate on an icy cold Friday afternoon. Snow-capped mountains surround the Franschhoek valley and autumn has turned the vineyards into beautiful shades of brown. The day started off with a tour of the 5 star Country House. The suites are tastefully, yet comfortably decorated and are refreshingly spacious which encourages extended stays. A koi pond and on site spa intensifies the feeling of serenity while the pool conjures images of lazy summer days. The vineyard and mountain views makes Holden Manz the perfect Winelands wedding venue as it’ll certainly ensure stunning photos!
The wining commenced with a tour of the cellar by winemaker Thierry Haberer while sipping on Holden Manz rosé. We also had the privilege of tasting the soon to be released Holden Manz Chenin Blanc before heading up to the Franschhoek Kitchen for lunch prepared by Executive Chef Ricardo Le Roux.
A Taste Sensation at the Franschhoek Kitchen
We were warmly welcomed by co-owner Gerard Holden and Chef Ricardo after which lunch was served.
The first course was a citrus, salt and mint salad which consisted of poached tomatoes, charred courgettes, crispy artichokes and salt fried seeds. The salad was paired with Holden Manz Chardonnay 2016 which almost swayed me from my love for red wine! The second course was an all-round hit – Romesco Risotto with prawn, artichoke and mustard croquette, olive tapenade and smoked cauliflower. It was paired with the Holden Manz Visionare 2013.
The third (and my favourite) course was 6 hour braised beef cheeks with white bean and samp cassoulet, oxtail bitterballen, pecorino wafer and a plum, orange and spice jus. The meat was tender and flavourful and the dish paired well with the Holden Manz Big G 2013. The fourth and final course was an imaginative Chevre Terrine which was covered in a light biscuit and sparked everyone’s interest. Lifting the biscuit revealed preserved fig, raspberry, fennel feuilletine and saffron which was paired with Holden Manz Syrah 2014.
Experience the winter menu for yourself!
Now I must declare, I’m no foodie or wine connoisseur but I do enjoy good food and good wine. The Franschhoek Kitchen strikes the perfect balance with unpretentious fine dining. Chef Ricardo will delight your senses and taste buds with fresh ingredients and flavourful dishes. The Holden Manz wine collection will ensure that your meal is perfectly rounded off.
But don’t take my word for it, head out to Franschhoek and experience the new winter menu for yourself! Menus are exceptional value for money starting at R295 for two courses, R385 for three courses, R470 for four course and R550 for a five course meal. Visit their website for more information and ensure that you book advance before arriving.