Places to love, bubbly to drink

By Myrna Robins Time of article published Jan 30, 2012

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If January dog days are weighing you down, look ahead to February when there will be a host of cheerful options on the winelands calendar. With Valentine’s Day falling on a Tuesday, several venues are inviting winelovers to indulge in a weekend of romantic celebration from February 11 to 12.

The Grande Roche Hotel in Paarl has an extra reason to fill their fine flutes with bubbly as they are marking their 20th anniversary this year.

They have organised a romantic event for February 11 when visitors are invited to choose their aperitifs and settle on the lawn under starry skies to background music. Their picnics start with smoked salmon, go on to droë wors and biltong, salad, cheese and crackers, cake and fruit, after which guests take their seats at the amphitheatre for a screening of the classic movie Grease.

It’s a venue where, given the fragrance from the rose garden and the warmth of a Boland night, romance should bloom.

For those wanting to make a weekend of it, there are few places more romantic than the suites in this splendid hotel. The picnic and movie cost R270 a head. To book, e-mail [email protected] or call 021 863 5100.

Rosé ripe for bubbly occasion

With so many to choose from, where to start when it comes to a bubbly for a romantic Valentine’s Day assignment? This is perhaps the time to go for a rosé – and to remind cautious readers that today’s pink sparklers are a far cry from the sickly sweet liquid with bubbles that passed for “champagne” a decade or two ago. Whether you choose a brut or a Cap Classique with a hint of sweetness, you are likely to get quality and good value. Producer J C Le Roux offers a wide choice, and its La Vallée Rosé (R75) is pretty and perfect for a celebration. Or, be adventurous and go for something new, such as the Kloovenburg’s White from Red brut, or the new label from Allee Bleue. Rickety Bridge has just announced the release of their maiden rosy bubbly, available from the farm.

West Coast culinary treat

The delicious and well-priced wines from Darling Cellars will make splendid partners to the lunch being served at !Khwa ttu on February 5. Diners will also enjoy a classic concert that includes Bach’s cello suites 1 and 3 and Ugubhu, an African piece by Hans Huyssen.

The Vineyard hotel, known for its involvement in good food and wine pairing, has dispatched chef Alex Jenkinson from The Square restaurant to the West Coast, where he has joined forces with Vivien Peterson, the San Cultural Centre’s chef, to create a menu with indigenous touches.

After a flute of Cap Classique, the Arum Fields chenin blanc will accompany chilled Saldanha mussel soup. The main course, venison Wellington, will be complemented by Kroon, a 2007 blend of pinotage, shiraz and mouvedre, with splashes of grenache and barbera. At the time of writing, decisions about which wine would best enhance a finale of a white and dark chocolate tart with num-num berries were still being debated.

This appealing event is part of the Darling Music Festival taking place from February 3 to 12 – a feast of music both rare and special. For bookings, e-mail [email protected] or call 022 492 3955. - Weekend Argus

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