Monday, January 3, 2011

Olde World Country Feeling on your Stoep

Knorhoek Country Guesthouse is only 10 minutes from Stellenbosch yet you feel you are much deeper than that – and I don’t just mean the honesty bar.

Simonsberg mountains and mature trees provide the setting. And habitat for varied and abundant birdlife - not to mention the best possible white noise substitute for city slickers – with Piet-my-vrou calls punctuating the gentle clip of the leaves in the breeze while the owls here do give a hoot.

The view from our room (Pics by Georgie Prout)

This hidden gem was owned by Dutch East India Company employee Martin Melck, and was referred to as ‘de plaats waar de leeuwen knorren’ (the place where the lions roar). Melck gave the property to his daughter as a wedding gift and it has been in the Van Niekerk family ever since. Tourists – often American with long musical instrument boxes – still ask about the lions.
Thorn tree full moon

Although the Cape Mountain lion became extinct in the late 1700's, a touch of the wild remains with leopard and caracal sightings in the higher reaches of the surrounding mountains - providing inspiration for the use of the leopard on the estate's wine labels.

They are also members of Biodiversity Wine Initiative (BWI) whose  vision is to protect and conserve the unique natural heritage within the Cape Winelands while producing classic Cape Cabernet Sauvignon and other noble varieties.

My first experience on the estate was at Towerbosch Aardskombuis where I enjoyed some seriously comfy comfort food in a gay-Boer-chic setting. Chefs Westley Muller and Carmen van der Merwe are very cunning – I kept feeling like I was at my Nan’s for Sunday roast, just with more interesting wine and conversation.

Over at the guest house, Liesl follows the same formula - fresh ingredients simply prepared - providing for a most enjoyable meal while capturing that home-from-home feeling.

Liesl - born on the farm - cooked for us at the guesthouse.

 Back in the room, I just loved the Victorian claw bath and the mozzie net, with the lavish flower arrangement adding to the sumptious colonial feel of the place.

bubbles are obligatory

also keeps the bogeyman out.

Near perfect, pity about the lack of mini-bar in the room but it was kinda exciting dashing down to the dining room fridge in the middle of the night in my dressing gown. If you can’t get to your Nan’s for Sunday roast, or the game farm is too far - go there - I left doing the Knorhoek Leeu Loop.

Jonathan Snashall

For winemaker-led wine tours

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