{eat} For the love of food and wine: an afternoon at Allée Bleue

There’s no better way to celebrate the month of love than a wine tasting and picnic lunch on an iconic Franschhoek wine estate. Let Allée Bleue suitably seduce you this February with their their treats for two!

Introduction


Having recently spent a leisurely Sunday in Franschhoek (read my blog on our brunch at Haute Cabrière here!), The Tall Hedonist and I simply couldn’t return to reality without a visit to Allée Bleue for lunch.

I’ve always been intrigued by the name of this estate but have never had the opportunity to visit or taste any of their wines. As 2020 is my self-declared #YearOfYes, I couldn’t sit still in the car as we finally cruised down the stunning “alley of blue”, meandering right into the heart of the estate.

We were generously invited to a tasting of their full wine portfolio, followed by a picnic lunch for two. The bad weather was picking up as the day grew longer, so I was delighted at the thought of whiling away some time in their beautiful tasting room to get out of grips of the merciless South Easter.

Background

A unique place in a heavenly setting. Known to be one of the oldest wine farms in the area, Allée Bleue has had an eventful past, yet was, until recently, one of the undiscovered jewels of the Cape Winelands.

Allée Bleue (blue avenue or drive) owes its name to the statuesque, blue eucalyptus trees that magnificently line the entrance to the estate. For them, however, this name also expresses homage to the blue planet, the sky and water, and the colour of peace.

The estate boasts an unmistakable French vibe, being part of the Franschhoek Valley (or ‘French corner’) with rows of vines and meadows stretching towards the Drakenstein Mountains in the distance (http://alleebleue.co.za/estate/).

The venue

Emerging from the driveway of ancient eucalyptus (or blue gum) trees that inspired the name of this estate, it opened up onto a clutch of beautifully restored Cape Dutch buildings and age-old plane trees, offering ample shade to the picnic area and gardens.

We were ushered into the building, courtesy of the wind, and once I’ve had time to rearrange my dress and hair, we were welcomed and seated in the comfy confines of the tasting room.

Elegantly furnished and decorated with clean lines and historic touches such as the massive dark-wood window frames, the Allée Bleue tasting room oozed sophistication. Overlooking the neat rows of vines, this space was designed for the ultimate all-round experience with modern floor-to-ceiling glass installments, without losing the historic charm factor, which was echoed in the high-pitched roof with exposed beams and the grid windowpanes.

The tasting room was suitably busy with a selection of groups of tourists and handfuls of locals, all here to enjoy the fruits of Allée Bleue’s labours. After a hearty welcome and run-through of the tasting menu, we were ready to start our new wine journey with Allée Bleue.

The wine

Our sommelier confidently insisted we start with a tasting of both their MCC’s. Always in search of a stunning MCC, I quickly agreed that no tasting would be complete without the bubbles. We fell hopelessly in love with their Brut and Brut Rosé 2014 MCC’s. Delicate, floral and filled with pretty personality, they were simply sublime.

As the afternoon drew on, we tasted our way through most of their premium and ultra-premium ranges. We were absolutely delighted to find that we really enjoyed so many of their wines, and soon agreed that Allée Bleue will now be added to our ever-growing list of favourite wine estates.

We particularly enjoyed the 2019 Sauvignon Blanc and the 2018 Chenin Blanc. One of the best young Sauvignon Blanc’s I’ve tasted so far in 2020. Both very fruit-driven and lusciously lively on the palate, they are bold and soft at the same time. The Chenin was light and vibrant, but complex in its presentation, reminding of tropical fruit and creamy nougat in the same sip.

Moving into their ultra-premium range, I thought it couldn’t possibly get much better. That was until we were introduced to Isabeau 2015, the estate’s flagship white wine. A heartfelt tribute, this grand lady is a blend of Chardonnay, Semillon and Viognier. It’s fruity at first, following through with hints of cinnamon spice and layers of citrus.

Moving away from the careless scents of summer, we plunged ourselves into their moody reds. The 2017 Shiraz and the 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon / Merlot, both multiple prize winners, were exquisite. The knock-out, though, came in the form of their 2017 Pinotage. We both mulled over this beautifully smooth ruby wine for a little too long, savouring every sip of red fruit and earthy vanilla.
Experiences available:
Wine Tasting: 4 wines @ R45 per tasting.
Cheese & Wine Pairing: 3 wines and 3 cheeses @ R100 per tasting.
Cheese and Meat Platter (Enough for 2 persons): R165 per platter.
Wine Tasting hours:
Daily: 09h00-17h00

The picnic

Investing in a bottle of 2019 Sauvignon Blanc, we left the comfy confines of the tasting room for lunch. Because the wind was still raging outside, we decided to enjoy our picnic on the covered terrace. Sheltered from wind and rain, you can still picnic al-fresco, and there’s even the option for a hearty open fire during the colder months.

We chose a table that gave us an incredible view over the vineyards and unpacked our basket, eager to fill our glasses with their Sauvignon Blanc, which was clearly our latest love affair.

To say that the picnic basket was generous, is a complete understatement. Filled with farm-fresh, wholesome food and treats, picnics are my favourite way of sharing a meal. There’s something so inherently romantic about a picnic, and I’ve always considered a picnic meal to be something intimate and celebratory.

Our basket included a hearty cheese and charcuterie platter with fruited melba toast, roast beef sirloin wraps, two herb salads with feta and a red wine reduction, oven baked bread rolls and a selection of home-made preserves and spreads. My heart sang a song of love at the taste of their ridiculously indulgent olive tapenade, made with their farm-harvested olives.

We couldn’t possibly finish the lush offerings of Allée Bleue but managed to squeeze in a little space for the decadent chocolate brownies.

I can only imagine what a treat a picnic would be on a warm sunny day, sprawled on their expansive lawns, overlooking the vines, the little river or the manicured gardens. Please make sure to book your picnic in advance and also check out their seasonal menus on their website by clicking HERE.

In conclusion

Allée Bleue is the epitome of farm-fresh hospitality. A great day out for the family, filled with wholesome treats, beautiful surroundings and plenty to do for everyone. I think this is the perfect spot to celebrate the month of love!

I’m so grateful that our paths crossed with Allée Bleue that day. As we walked to the car with a laden box of wine in arms, I told myself that it’s not really all that far from the South Peninsula to Franschhoek.

Thank you, Allée Bleue, for receiving us so generously, and spending the afternoon with us at your beautiful estate!

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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