We departed the Montagu Country Hotel on a bright, sunny morning, well rested and ready to continue our #MagicOfWinter media tour through the Langeberg Valley. We were spending our morning in the sterling company of Esona Boutique Wine Estate and frankly my dear, I was childishly excited to taste some wines!
To be honest, I’ve never heard of Esona before that day. But as my fellow winelovers chatted excitedly across the sausage-stuffed Avanza, my excitement grew exponentially. I heard exclamations of “beautiful tasting room,” “seems to float above the wines,” “vertical wine tasting,” “Riedel glasses” and “underground experience.”
Most of these concepts were completely foreign to me and they fell difficultly on my ears. Relatively new to the world of wine, I’m literally trying to drown myself in the nectar of the gods to learn as much as I can about this age-old trade. If there ever was an opportunity for learning and experiencing, then please sign me up; and it seemed as if Esona was a great place to start my journey.
This certified single vineyards are in the heart of the beautiful Robertson Wine Valley alongside the Breede River. Sauvignon Blanc single vineyards are positioned in their fertile sandy silt soil, ideal for cultivating their premium Sauvignon Blanc wine. The upper soil is deep loam enriched with lime, allowing good drainage yet retaining moisture. This is perfect for their premium Shiraz, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir wines.
Their current wines include Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Shiraz, Frankly My Dear (Rosé) and Chenin Blanc. Varietals that will be joining our collection soon include Pinot Noir, Grenache, Barbera, Sangiovese, Colombard and Mourvèdre.
Their dream is to produce high-quality wine and release a maximum of 2000 bottles of each cultivar.
The owners, Rowan and Caryl, are passionate about developing people. Through their Skills Development Fund, more than 200 individuals are funded.(https://esona.co.za/our-story).
The first look
As we rounded the last corner, Esona literally floated above the winter vines. Striking in its unique positioning, it exuded elegance and a bit of the mysterious. I couldn’t get out of the car fast enough as we parked between the rows of bare vines to wind my way to the front door.
Once inside, we were welcomed into a modern stone and rock space, minimal in its approach, but incredibly inviting nonetheless. We were showed to the upstairs deck of Caryl’s Bistro where we enjoyed an icy glass of rosé, whilst overlooking the Valley and the Breede River from our little eagle’s nest. For as high up as we were in that moment, we were about to sink down into the belly of the earth for an experience that left me with goosebumps for hours after.
wine in the kuip
A tangible silence fell over our group as we descended the candlelit stairs into Esona‘s old cellar. This network of underground fermentation tanks offers visitors a glimpse into the wine making techniques of years ago, as wine and brandy were fermented in “The Kuip.”
We sat down at tables that groaned slightly under their glassware, and the flickering candlelight cast a gorgeous soft glow around the room, twinkling through our rows of tasting glasses. As the room filled up, our once loud laughs and jests were replaced with quiet whispers and muted excitement, as the room almost felt hallow in its glowing glory.
We spent a glorious hour or so underground, as we were guided through the vertical wine tastings and pairings. Without giving too much away, this tasting includes experiencing wine in different glasses, and learning to understand the impact your chosen glassware has on your overall experience. You also get the chance to taste different vintages of the same wine, as to understand the impact of external factors on the vines, like terroir and weather. I completely fell in love with Esona‘s Chardonnay (all of the vintages!), and the quiet, almost sacred setting contributed to my absolute enjoyment thereof.
Lunch is served
After the tasting, as we emerged from the dark only for the sunshine to touch our faces again, we were invited back up to the deck, where a lovely platter lunch awaited us, served with a bit more Chardonnay and crammed full of delicious local produce.
Their menu is small, but each item skillfully curated to offer something for everyone. Caryl’s Bistro offers a range of signature platters, which can be enjoyed outside on the deck or inside, which is frankly just as lovely as outside! This is the perfect place for a lazy breakfast, road trip sandwiches or a celebratory platter between friends.
We hungrily tucked in, lapping up the sunshine, the Chardonnay and the cheese. We cheers’ed to a great start to the second day, and to finding this little haven in the heart of the Langeberg Valley.
Esona is rightfully “the very one.” This boutique winery is a must on your meander through the Langeberg Valley. But leave enough time to linger a bit longer; their wines are exquisite and deserve time to be enjoyed for all that it is. Caryl’s Bistro is a great pairing to their wines and if you are after absolute peace and tranquility (as well as suberb food and wine!), this is where your soul comes to rest.
Thank you to the generous Esona team for hosting us so graciously, and for feeding and watering us with the fruits of your craft!
The Fine Print
Tel: 076 343 5833
Address: Route R317, Between Robertson and Bonnievale, 6705
The Little Hedonist has made every effort to ensure that the information in this post was correct at the time of publication. However, I do not assume any liability caused by errors, such as price, menu changes, opening times, and contact details.
Disclaimer: I was invited to this event in my personal capacity. There was no expectation for platform coverage in the form of a blog, or social media posts. This is my honest and truthful opinion and review thereof. All thoughts and opinions expressed herein are solely those of The Little Hedonist, given in good faith and in no way influenced by the company or its affiliates. All images, unless otherwise stated/credited, are also my own.