[REVIEW] Highlands Road: Elgin Country & Wine Festival, 03.05.14

vineyards with clouds in a blue sky with dirt roadThis Saturday I was eager to attend the Elgin Wine and Country festival, but, when I pulled open my curtains on Saturday morning, Cape Town was wearing a mist cloak! Knowing that Elgin is just over Sir Lowries Pass, I kept optimistic, got dressed, picked up my friend and shot down the N2. Well, I shouldn’t say shot because I’d forgotten about Saturday traffic but luckily Elgin really is “just down the road” and the perfect location to feel out of town without going on too much of a mission.

road in green grass on wine farmWe met at the Elgin farm stall and received our map, wine glasses and went off on our way. Luckily, the cloud blanket had burnt off and it was a surprisingly warm day. Initially I was a bit worried about how far apart all the farms seemed yet driving down the country roads, taking in the red coloured trees, mirror like ponds and blue skies was lovely and our venue was only 15 minutes away. We had been invited to the Highlands Road for lunch, a pizza and wine pairing offering.

pond under trees with blue skies and green grass

stone walled building with green grass a tree and blue pondUpon arrival we were met by the sounds of a barefoot-duo singing songs on their guitars, couples sitting at tables under a weeping willow, on the shores of a blue pond. We were kindly greeted by Mark who introduced us to the Highlands wine. His wife was responsible for the day’s cuisine which we tucked into a little later. The wine tasting room at Highlands Road has the beautiful smell of a recently lit fire. For some random reason it reminded me of Paulo Coelho’s 11 Minutes. I guess there’s something romantic about a fireplace!

A mix of 5 wine bottles with white labels in a row on a counterWe tasted a few of the wines and decided the Sin Cena 2012 was the best. The 2011 was light and similar in profile to Haute Cabriere’s Tranquille. Whilst the 2012 is warmer, slightly smokier and rather delicious. One little disappointment was the Highlands Road decor. Being one of the world’s only wine farms with its own tartan – there was no sign of it. Instead photographs of wild animals adorned the tasting room. I definitely think the venue should celebrate their unique Scottish tartan instead of animals. (Sorry animals, I do love you but this is too unique not to celebrate.)

mini pizzas with wine glasses with white and red wineOnce we had indulged in a few of the wines, we sat down on the pond deck for our pizza pairing lunch. 5 pizzas had been beautifully made in the outdoor pizza oven. The kitchen had cleverly put little labels on the wine glass explaining what each pizza dish was and with which wine it should be enjoyed. This really helped as it’s tricky to remember all the wine names. Although the pizza dough was more of a pita dough, they were very tasty with the balsamic, Camembert, sweet onions being my favourite. We also had a bread and butter pudding that was, possibly, the best one I’d ever eaten.

Pizza pairing with empty wine glasses and a pond in the backgroundIt was very pleasant sitting outside, gazing across the water, watching guys trying to get little balls into a floating tyre (the prize was a case of wine!), listening to the pizza-oven crackle and enjoying the ambiance of Elgin. The Highlands Road restaurant isn’t open all the time but is available for birthdays or event booking. Just let them know your numbers and they’ll happily cater to your needs. Contact the tasting room if you’d like to visit. It’s a lovely venue for families with kids as they have a big jungle-gym out the back. The hosts are really lovely and a great bunch to spend the day with, I suggest doing so.

The Highlands Road farm was the only one we visited on the day but feel there is definitely a lot more to see. I recommend either arriving early to explore a few farms then enjoy a lunch. Or start with lunch and move I to more farms. The Elgin Wine and Country festival happens annually and is definitely worth checking out.

bread and butter pudding on white plate with silver dessert fork

dirt road, wall with sign, green sign, blue skies

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