{eat} Functional art and world-class fare at Haute Cabrière

How can a day be anything but simply splendid if it starts with breakfast at Haute Cabrière? Served with generous sides of stunning views, lashings of hospitality, and flutes of beautiful bubbles, I couldn’t help but tuck right in.

Introduction

Having undergone extensive renovations recently, I was delighted when The Tall Hedonist and I were invited for breakfast at the iconic, albeit rejuvenated, home of Haute Cabrière. Usually never venturing out quite as far as Franschhoek, I decided that, keeping in line with my resolutions, 2020 is indeed the year of yes. So, embracing the #YearOfYes, I graciously accepted the invitation to brunch (because let’s face it; I was never going to turn it down!).

I adore Haute Cabrière wines and Pierre Jourdan MCC’s equally. A leisurely Sunday morning visit to the grounds where these wines are borne was definitely right at the top of my January to-do list.

Background

Twenty-five years since the von Arnim family launched the iconic Haute Cabrière cellar, the winery has transformed into a world-class space for visitors to immerse themselves in the culture established by proprietor Achim von Arnim.  The newly renovated space makes Haute Cabrière the ultimate belle femme of the Franschhoek Valley.

The renovation journey was aimed at building on the past 25 years, and setting the scene for the next. “The project has been about honouring the legacy of our heritage; while celebrating the beauty of evolution. Even though the wines and the destination are ever changing, it will never lose its essence,” says Takuan von Arnim, Director of Wine and 2nd generation Cellar Master.

The venue

The unassuming glass space was nestled into the fynbos-arms of the mountain, humbly diverting attention from itself to the incredible flora and panoramic vies surrounding it. Cleverly hidden for minimal impact on the environment, but stunningly designed for the maximum wow factor, I simply couldn’t wait to get inside.

As we entered the intimate dining space, it opened up into an airy and light dining room, with 180 degree views of the Franschhoek landscape from your table. Decorated with contemporary art and stylish, minimalistic touches, this was a welcoming, but elegant retreat.

The versatility of the space was apparent in the easy fluidity between the restaurant, the cellar, the tasting room and the deli. The renovated space, combined with the existing features, presents as a canvas of functional art as you meander through the offerings of the wine estate.

The breathtaking stone arches of the underground cellar form the centerpiece of the stylishly new Haute Cabrière playground, and simply exudes the spirit of “living beautifully.” I adored the juxta-positioning of the historic and the uber-contemporary architecture – a fresh and skillful amalgamation of historic ambience with world-class wine and dining. The decor is trendy, without losing the signature Haute Cabrière flair of elegance and sophistication.

Brunch with a view

Carrying through with the theme of fluidity and accessibility, you can now tailor your wine and dining experiences to suit your needs. Tastings can be done in the dining areas, and you can pair some nibbles with your wine in the tasting room. 

Feeling suitably jovial, The Tall Hedonist and I decided that a flight of MCC would be the perfect accompaniment to our brunch, whilst we took in the sweeping landscape of the valley tableside.

Before we continue, I have to give an honourable mention to our waitress, Suzette, and our effervescent hostess of the morning, Monise, for taking such good care of us. Friendly, helpful and extremely knowledgeable, they shared a bit of the history and ethos of the estate with us over sips of MCC, and delighted us in their best offerings.

Because it was windy with little gusts of summer rain, we decided to sit inside, sheltered from the elements by the floor-to-ceiling glass shutter doors, without having to take our eyes off the glorious mountains and expanse of fluffy clouds.

The menu

The menu was deliciously uncomplicated, but still I struggled to decide. Settling on the bacon and cheese brioche with mushroom sauce and poached egg, The Tall Hedonist indulged in the steak, eggs, sautéed potatoes, roasted onions, tomato relish, crispy bacon, and buttered sourdough toast offering.

With more delectable options like toasted flapjacks with Canadian maple syrup and melted butter or a soufflé omelette with chives and parmesan cheese, the breakfast selection is exciting, different and modern. Using freshly baked goods and vegetables from their own garden, brunch doesn’t get better than this.

A companionable silence fell over our table as we hedonistically cleared our plates and sipped on the luscious fruits of Haute Cabrière. A great, honest breakfast menu which I can recommend wholeheartedly to any and all discerning foodies.

Tiny bubbles

We coupled our brunches with their popular MCC tasting, which consists of tasting four wines from the Pierre Jourdan range: Brut, Belle Rose, Belle Rose Nectar and Blanc de Blancs. The tasting costs R80 per person.

Monise expertly talked us through the tasting, offering us some anecdotes and interesting facts about the harvests, concepts and wine-making processes at Haute Cabrière, whilst making sure our flutes are filled throughout.

Our personal favourites were the Belle Rose and Blanc de Blancs. Delicate, aromatic and intensely indulgent, I liberally added these two to my favourites list.

We watched the conservatory (which I’m endearingly calling the new space) fill with groups of locals and tourists – some for breakfast, some for brunch that turned into lunch, some for celebrations and happy occasions, some for tastings and some just to simply enjoy all the good stuff on offer. There was a constant happy chatter in the conservatory, even though the wind was howling outside.

Haute Cabrière wines

We were persuaded (easily enough, I might add!) to indulge in a leisurely wine tasting of their Haute Cabrière portfolio, which was every bit as delightful as it sounds.

You can download their wine tasting menu here.

I deeply and instantly fell in love with the iconic Chardonnay Pinot Noir all over again, but the one that stole my oh-so-delicate heart that day was the Pinot Noir Resérve. With a deep, earthy nose that hints at juicy red berries, this Pinot Noir is simply exceptional, carrying through the woody, slightly spicy character onto the palate.

I was also pleasantly surprised at the unwooded Pinot Noir. Served slightly chilled, this is a great summer wine that offers a light red alternative to white and rosé wines.

In conclusion

We spent the rest of our morning exploring the tasting room, restaurant, peeking at the deli and bakery, and taking a guided tour of the underground cellar before we reluctantly had to part ways with this beautiful estate.

A visit to Haute Cabrière is not a destination; it’s a journey. Let them indulge you in top-class fare and wines, and show you unmatched hospitality in a stunning location where nature and man come together harmoniously.

Thank you, Haute Cabrière, for pulling out chairs around your breakfast table for us!

Fine print

Haute Cabrière is situated on the Franschhoek Pass (Lambrechts Road), Franschhoek. Wine tasting is open from Monday to Saturday from 10h00 to 19h30, offering Cellar Tours between 11h00 and 16h00.  Breakfast is available from Monday to Saturday from 08h00 to 11h00; tapas are served between 11h00 and 19h30; the bakery and deli are open from 08h00 to 16h00 and the à la carte menu is available from 12h00 to 19h30. Haute Cabrière is open on Sundays and closes at 15h30. For reservations and enquiries: call 021 876 8500, e-mail restaurant@cabriere.co.za or visit www.cabriere.co.za

Follow @Hautecabriere on Facebook and Instagram. #livebeautifully

Second photographer: The Tall Hedonist, aka Timothy P. Gibson

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.

The Little Hedonist endorses responsible drinking.
Don’t drink and drive. Not for persons under 18.

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