Hello wine-lovers!! It’s been a hot minute (your reluctant wine blogger strikes again!) It’s been an eventful few weeks and a lot of life has taken place. While I always want my posts to be light-hearted and fun, it would be remiss of me not to acknowledge how much work goes into blogging and creating content. A big shout-out to all content creators who are constantly producing incredible reads and images for their consumers. Please may you lend me some of the 72 hours y’all seem to have in your days, because wow! Now, on to why we all gather here periodically – wine and fire images!!!!

A really cool thing happened a few months ago that led to #BeccasWineSwap branching out and taking a day trip out to Stellenbosch (the first of many). I am always grateful and a little overwhelmed when collaborations take place in a away I could never have imagined. For the very first time, we frolicked in the sun, with stunning views smack in the middle of the winelands with the support of the exceptional team at Clos Malverne Wine Estate.

I think, in order to paint this picture accurately, I need to start at the very beginning. I first encountered Clos Malverne’s wines at a wine tasting evening at the Royal Cape Yacht Club. A friend of mine and I were making the rounds and incidentally, their stand was one of the last ones we visited. This is how I met Brandon and Amy. Listen. If at the last stand, after a few hours of wine tasting, I recall your name, you have made one heck of an impression. And impress, they did. I’ll never forget the back and forth between them and I over which of their wines I preferred and why. That was the beginning of what I hope is going to be a lasting relationship.

Fast-forward a few months, and the #beccaswineswap squad found themselves seated in the Clos Malverne restaurant, an airy but intimate space adorned with all the well deserved awards their wines have amassed over the years as well as unique and striking artwork. The deck doors open up onto a breathtaking view of the rolling hills of Stellenbosch and if you’re tall enough (and get it into your head that you should), you could almost reach out and touch the vines.

The estate is located on 10 hectares and was bought by one Seymour Pritchard in 1969. At the time, it was known as Malvern Heights, named after the rolling hills around its previous owner’s home town –  Malvern, England. Pritchard later renamed it Clos Malverner because homestead on the farm being reminded him of a Clos in France. Educational fact; a “clos” is a walled, French vineyard.

Clos Malverne began its wine making story in 1986 after having been a supplier of grapes for the Stellenbosch Farmer’s Winery for a while. The estate prides itself for being one of the few wine farms that still uses a traditional, handmade style of wine making that involves minimum interference with the wine, to produce their elegant award-winning wines. They use the Basket Press to produce their wine. This is a traditional, manual means to produce wine. The squad was treated to scaled down version and breakdown of the process during the tasting. I appreciate the patience and mastery required to create Clos Malverne’s wines so much more now.

We started the tasting with the Sauvignon Blanc Sparkling Brut – because what is a #BeccasWineSwap without bubbles?? This non-vintage sparkling wine is created from sauvignon blanc grapes and is a refreshing, crisp and fruity wine and will set you back about R132.

I’ve learnt to stop discounting varietals simply because I haven’t enjoyed them in the past. As a result, my relationship with chardonnay is on the up and the Clos Malverne 2018 chardonnay is definitely a fave. It is a wooded chardonnay ( in oak barrels for only 3 months). You’ll pick up some citrus with the oak and hints of vanilla as well. This lady retails for R139.

This merlot offers an explanation as to why merlot is the most consumed wine in South Africa. while often, merlots are simple and for easy drinking. You’ll pick up the fruitines of the wine which is finished off by the subtle smoke. An enjoyable, smooth red that retails for R150.

On to my FAVOURITE of the day. To be fair, she was my favourite from the time I met her that fateful night at the Yacht Club. The 2016 Le Café pinotage is simply amazing. She has the quintessential chocolate and mocha flavours that distinguish pinotages from other wines.  She has spicy undertones of cinnamon with notes of coffee that leave a soft and lingering aftertaste. She retails for R150.

If you’re ever looking for a place to explore and enjoy good food an wine, Clos Malverne should make your list. With gourmet dinners, accommodation options and spa facilities, the estate encompasses elegance, convenience and luxury, all a stone’s throw away from Cape Town. And as if the food and wine aren’t enough to blow you away, the people are warm and welcoming, in the most unforgettable way.

Love and Wine,

The Empress xx

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