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Wine tasting at Haute Cabrière
Spend Saturday at one of Franschhoek’s stunning wine estates
Saturday Cellarmaster Tastings at the Franschhoek Valley wine estate Haute Cabrière are edgy, to say the least; and that’s not just because they end with a lesson in French cavalry sabrage – the method of opening bottles of wine with a sword. The start and the middle of the tasting-cum-cellar tour are every bit as extraordinary as the dramatic finale.
Led by either owner Achim von Arnim or his son, Takuan, on Saturdays at 11am the tastings are a journey through Haute Cabrière's history and wine philosophy. The Von Armins have an artillery of one liners and they aren’t afraid to launch them; Takuan had us in stitches when we paid Haute Cabrière a visit.
The tastings are held in an auditorium within the maturation cellar, so visitors can enjoy Pierre Jourdan and Haute Cabrière wines in their natural habitat. Not to mention, aside from just the proverbial swish, sip, and spit, guests also have the privilege of a fascinating look into how the wine and champagne is actually made.
The farm began by producing only MCCs (Method Cap Classique’s – South Africa’s version of champagne - for those unfamiliar with the acronym) some 28-years ago, a risk in a market where bubbles were considered a celebratory drink, and not for every day drinking. These days the estate also produces a chardonnay and pinot noir blend of almost cult-like status (you know the one), as well as a pinot noir, and now more recently, an unwooded pinot noir. The MCC is under second label Pierre Jourdan, named for the French Huguenot who was the original founder. The tasting is a great opportunity to taste six varietals from their range.
The Saturday Cellarmaster tastings with a member of the Von Arnim family are offered to up to eight people at a time, so make sure you book in advance.
Haute Cabrière is on Pass Road’s incline, just two minutes from the centre of Franschhoek. It’s a whimsical sight; reminiscent of a dwelling in the Shire. Two arched doorways are neatly tucked into the side of the mountain, one leads to the upstairs tasting room, the other to the eponymous restaurant.
For those unable to attend the Saturday Cellarmaster Tasting, the same tour-cum-tasting is open to the public from Monday to Friday at 11am and 3pm, and is lead by a member of the Haute Cabrière staff. Additionally, standard tastings take place in the upstairs tasting room during opening hours.
Tasting room opening hours: Mon – Fri, 9am to 5pm; Sat & Public Holidays: 10am to 4pm; Sunday, 11am to 4pm
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