Monday, February 27, 2012

Middelvlei, my South African happy place.


Middelvlei Tasting Room

It is always wonderful to walk into a wine tasting room and witness the passion that the staff and owners have for their wine.  The first time I went to Middelvlei I fell in love with their Free-Run Pinotage, their passion for their wines and on leaving I felt as though I was a part of the family. Middelvlei is the home of the Momberg family who have been wine farming since 1919. 

Gorgeous Middelvlei farm house.

Middelvlei tasting room.

Momberg coat of arms.

On my trip home this year Middelvlei was on the list to visit.  My cousin had discovered online that they do a Boerebraai (Farmers BBQ) with all the traditional South African foods.  She didn't have to convince me twice and we immediately made our reservations and counted down the days.

Friday finally arrived and Mom, Aunts and cousin all packed into the little blue and grey jets and made our way to my happy place.  The weather was perfect, not a cloud in the sky a gentle breeze and not over powering in heat. 

The first thing I noticed was Grappa.  Grappa is a new addition to the Middelvlei crew and is off the Richter scale in cuteness.  Still a puppy and still chewing on things so I had to take a few pictures.

Chew toy.

How adorable is this face!

'Can I move to America with you?'

Wants to play with the big dogs.

We chose to sit outside, how could we not.  The farm animals were all around us and the kids (baby goats) were being very boisterous and feisty. 

Middelvlei Chardonnay Unoaked 2011

We started with our wine tasting.  First on the list was the Middelvlei Chardonnay Unoaked.  If you have been following along my cousin and I are not big Chardonnay fans.  We have found a few that are palatable, but only a few.  The Middelvlei Chardonnay was fruity on the nose.  I loved the bouquet, fruity and crisp.  On the palate it was smooth and I got the guava taste on the front and a titch spice on the finish.  My cousin got more a mixture of the tropical fruits.  We both agreed this is a wine that we both would have in our cellars, if it lasted that long.

Middelvlei Pinotage Merlot 2011

Next up was the Middelvlei Pinotage Merlot. Pinotage is South Africa's signature variety that was created by Abraham Perold in 1925.  He was the first Professor of Viticulture at Stellenbosch University.  It is a cross between Pinot Noir and Hermitage (now known as Cinsaut) hence the name Pinotage. Only in the past few years have wine lovers in America started to embrace Pinotage.  It can be a somewhat heavy wine, lots of tobacco hints and some you literally have to chew before you swallow.  Incredibly robust. 

The color on the Pinotage Merlot is incredible.  My Mom does not drink, but she was enthralled with the deep, rich garnet color.  Blackcurrants were popping out of the glass with regards to bouquet.  I could have just inhaled all day. On the palate it was wooded spice and plums.  It had a nice finish, not too abrupt like a one night stand.  It stayed for breakfast.

Middelvlei Free-Run Pinotage

Finally my all time favorite, Middelvlei Free Run Pinotage.  The best wine to have in your sippy cup when your day has been a bitch.  It wraps you up in a cloud of pashmina and you hear angels singing in the background, but that only happens after about the third glass. Free-Run refers to the free-run juice that naturally drains off the freshly crushed grapes.  The color is a deep ruby red and on the nose we got raspberries and oaky spices.  On the palate it is pure heaven.

The lunch menu was as follows:

Potbrood (pot bread)
Smoked Snoek Pate
Homemade Fruit preserves

Boerewors (Traditional farmers sausage)
Lamb Loin Chop
Mustard Chicken Sosaties
Braaibroodjies (BBQ bread with cheese, tomato, onion)
Green Salad
Potato Salad

Boeretroos (coffee)

Lunch was served and it was outstanding.  The cost was $16.50 at the current exchange rate.  More than enough food and what a wonderful introduction to traditional South African BBQ.  I highly recommend Middelvlei for an authentic meal.  No pretenses, no frills, nothing over priced, just good food and good wine. 

Where the magic happens.

Our wonderful chef making Braaibroodjies

Smoked Snoek Pate, Homemade Preserves, Fresh Farm Butter

Our mugs for our coffee

Mini Corn Souffles

Green Salad, Braaibroodjies, Potato Salad

Boerewors+Sosatie+Lamb chop = Happy Belly

Boeretroos - best coffee

Ben and his incredible team.  These people rock!

Ben and his incredible team made our afternoon great and one we will remember for a long time.  If they had hammocks we would have taken naps in the vineyards.

Time to go home.

Exactly how I felt after our great lunch.

We had a fantastic afternoon and everyone agreed that this was one of the most memorable lunches.  They do offer dessert for an extra charge, but we were all so full we waddled to the cars. 

I am the one at the back, always lagging behind.

If you ever get the chance to visit Stellenbosch, please make Middelvlei one of your stops.  Be sure to book the Boerebraai and arrive with an empty belly, camera battery at full status and friends/family, you won't be disappointed.


  1. What an amazing day. Your description of the Pinotage Merlot is poetic and hilarious. I want that puppy. And I want that barbecue!


    That is all.

  3. @Mitch ~ Thank you, the creative 'wine' juices were flowing last night.

    @Nicki ~ back off girlfriend, I saw Grappa first. ;~)

  4. Looks great, blue sky, meat cooked with fire. My Pip wants to meet Grappa for a grapple

  5. Wiener dogs and wine!?! I can't think of anything better, then you showed the awesome looking menu.

  6. ahhh my friend is happy, and now I am too!

  7. Great review of what looks like a stellar winery. The wines are interesting, but I'm fascinated my your bbq menu… things I've never heard of were tickling my brain and tastebuds. Lucky Nubian!!


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