Laborie Wine Farm
The view from the outdoor area at Taste at Laborie Wine Farm looks over a spectacular view of the Drakenstein Mountains and, on a day when there have been morning showers, the granite rocks of the mountain face glisten in the sun.
This is exactly what Abraham Gabemma, treasurer for the Dutch East India Company, observed on a visit to the area in 1657 and why he named the area ’de Diamondt en de Peerlberg‘ (Diamond and Pearl Mountain) which was eventually shortened to Paarl.
Taste is the ideal spot to sit on a cool wintery day – the outside area is sunny and warm and faces a view over the vineyards from wherever you choose to sit. Here you can taste Laborie’s range of wines, as well as enjoy a bite to eat. The menu includes a fabulous selection of tapas plates and charcuterie and cheese boards, designed to share. Try the grilled calamari, served in a mini wire basket with a deliciously tangy Asian dipping sauce, or the crispy courgette fritter served with a generous slice of grilled haloumi cheese and beautifully sweet, roasted baby tomatoes. Platters include local cheeses and meats, terrine, olives and other tasty nibbles, served with fresh bread. The sharing style plates are generously sized meaning that everyone can have a bite and can experience the flavours, perfectly paired with farm wines. To end off an afternoon at Taste, you simply must try the macaron and bubbly pairing. A selection of 3 macarons – strawberry, lemon and pistachio, which are delightfully delicate and utterly indulgent when paired with the farm’s MCC Rosé, Blanc de Blancs and Brut respectively.
From Taste head on over to Bar di Bar. The popular 1975 VW Kombi, which purveys craft beer, has found a permanent home at Laborie. A selection of brews from SA’s craft beer market are served tasting-style on brightly coloured trays. Once you’ve decided on your favourite(s) you can order a full sized one, or something else from the varied selection on the menu. The menu from Taste is also offered at Bar di Bar, making it a great place to spend an afternoon chilling with friends. Tables dot the outdoor area, as well as a lovely grassed area in front. Bar di Bar brings a laid back, beachy vibe to this wine farm and adds a novel dimension to the space that beer drinkers will applaud.
If you are looking to explore the Paarl area, Laborie is the ideal base to do so from. Located just off the main road, yet set far enough back to feel as though you are in the heart of the winelands, it offers beautifully luxurious rooms that overlook a central grassed area, flanked on one side by the original gabled Manor House and by vineyards on the other. The rooms are elegantly decorated and with all the creature comforts you could wish for. Catch an afternoon nap on the comfy bed, or perhaps enjoy a bottle of wine on the patio area outside each room.
One place you should add to your list of places to visit in Paarl is the KWV Sensorium, located just a stone’s throw from the gates of Laborie. The Sensorium is a journey through the history of KWV and visitors will discover things like the fact that KWV once produced a perfume! The Sensorium offers brandy tastings, as well as an art and wine pairing, highlighting the KWV private art collection, paired with wines from the range. Pairings are cleverly based on colours, textures and emotive nuances from the paintings, which include pieces from the likes of Pierneef.
After a day of uncovering Paarl, you will want to dine in a comfortable setting and at Harvest at Laborie you will find this. Harvest is situated inside another beautiful gabled building and is warmed by a roaring fireplace and the friendly smiles of the attentive staff. On a sunny day the stoep outside is a fabulous place to sit, with a childrens’ play area nearby, but on a cold winter’s night, the warmth inside will draw you in. The menu features dishes with French flair and includes rack of lamb with potato galette and baby pearl onions and salmon trout with a delicate crayfish sauce. End off with a sumptuous slice of the house favourite, Belgian Chocolate Torte served with a white chocolate springroll – a dessert that will have even the most chocolate-fit diner in a chocolaty haze.
After a wonderful night’s rest, breakfast is served at the main dining table inside the original Manor House. With silver service cutlery, a table that runs the length of the dining room and the morning sun just peeking through the stable door at the end of the room, its a glimpse into what life was like when meals really were taken in this kind of formal setting
Laborie is perfectly placed as a base to explore Paarl, but with all that is offered at the farm itself and the lovely views and tranquillity experienced, it will be quite hard to leave!