A glorious summer’s day on a wine farm outside Stellenbosch, wine tasting in a cellar, gin tasting in the biggest gin bar in Africa, lunching by a lake on a Salmon platter of perfection all the while surrounded by vineyards and mountains of blue…
Our visit to Asara was a very pleasant way to spend a day indeed!
From the moment you arrive and drive up the avenue of young pin oaks you know you’re in for a treat. This is a wine estate that takes leisure seriously!
Our visit started in the Asara Hotel reception area – a serene space that’s welcoming and comfortable and filled with gorgeous indigenous flowers…
Outside the pretty courtyard centres around a fountain and there is a sweet little deli offering a variety of cakes, macaroons, ice-creams and chocolates all freshly made. You can choose to eat them under the leafy trees or take them away to enjoy later at home!
This is also the located of one of The Bell Tower – originally built when the farm was founded in 1681!
From there we escaped the intense heat of the day to the calm cool of the wine cellar for an intimate wine tasting with wine maker, Danielle le Roux and her assistant Janette van Lill as well as the well-loved wine connoisseur Michael Oliver. What a treat to learn from the very best. My husband (an aspiring wino aka The Wine Amateaur on Instagram) was in his element.
We tasted some of the very best wines Asara has to offer. And they have many! I’m a big white wine girl so really enjoyed tasting their Sauvignon Blanc – one of the best in SA. I also really enjoyed the Chenin Blanc – not usually a varietal I enjoy.
My husband, Brad, is more of a red fan so these were his favourites during our tasting. He especially loved their Merlot and the beautiful Bell Tower blend from their Speciality Collection…
Asara is so named to honour Astar, Asis and Asase, North African gods of earth, sun and sky, to symbolise of the balance and harmony of nature which they wished to reflect in the estate’s wines.
From there I took a quick tour of the hotel’s bedrooms and suites… all impeccable in style and location! Imagine private balconies, panoramic views and the most exquisite bathrooms!!
And then it was time to head across the lawn to Sansibar Restaurant… with a brief turn past the most INCREDIBLE Gin Bar I have ever seen.
This Gin Bar boasts one of the best collections of gins in Africa… if not the world. It is simple beautiful. And no, I hadn’t drunk any gin, yet!
It’s incredible luxe with mirrored walls and chrome fittings. And the most beautiful gin bottles to be found in all the world. I loved taking a sneak peek at the beautiful designed bottles. Each one a work of art in it’s own right!
I was definitely not up to the task of choosing only one gin as my aperitif, so I opted to hand over that task to the Gin Master, Joseph…. and savoured every sip of my thyme and lemon infused South African gin.
Sansibar also offer various gin tasting experiences – a great way to learn about gin for connoisseurs and novices alike. I definitely need a return visit to appreciate this stunning space a little bit more! And if gin is not your thing there is also an extensive and exclusive list of whisky’s, cognacs, cocktails and other drinks including non-alcoholic cocktails to enjoy!
Lunch at the Sansibar Bistro takes place on a deck overlooking a panorama of the winelands…
The casual restaurant is well-known for their wood-fired pizzas as well as their other delicious wood-fired mains including beef burgers and pork ribs.
My husband opted for the latter and welcomed his very generous portion while I chose to try one of the 3 platters available on the menu… The Salmon & Trout Platter featuring Sliced Smoked Salmon, Hot Smoked Trout, Salad leaves, Olives, Pickles, Fresh Bread & Sesame Crackers. It was exactly the fresh lunch option I needed on a scorching summers’ day in Stellenbosch.
There is also a great Starter Menu for those looking for something even lighter and our fellow diner opted for the Prawn Caesar Salad with Cos Lettuce, Anchovies, Icelandic Prawn Tails, Croutons & Parmesan Cheese which also looked incredible!
Our time at Asara was a blissful escape from the chaos of life. An easy drive from Cape Town down the N2, this is the ideal spot to head for a lunch break with a view, a work function at one of their many conference venues or a cheeky weekend away spoil for you and your partner.
Asara Wine Estate
Polkadraai Road, Stellenbosch, 7600, South Africa
+27 21 888 8000
Images: Kathryn Rossiter