A rich history, a whimsical setting, a seductive approach to wine and a magnetic proprietor ensure that it is a decadent affair for any visitor.
The core belief that wine is grown not made makes the farm’s ethos incredibly real and intrinsically human.
Wine is more than what is in the bottle and it is considered an exceptionally intimate experience. This seductive conviction is intertwined with the farm’s ultimate philosophy that wine is bigger than one, it’s the combination of four factors: Sun, Soil, Vine, Man.
It is these four words that adorn a sundial erected at the entrance to Haute Cabrière’s exquisite subterranean restaurant and maturation cellar. They serve as a constant reminder: “We are still a family business and it hasn’t been easy, but the only thing that saves us is personal commitment,” says Cellar Master, Takuan von Arnim. “Everything, including our wine, is about balance and respect.”
Takuan von Arnim, the dynamic Cellar Master at Franschhoek’s Haute Cabrière is the eldest son of Achim von Arnim, the pioneering wine grower who established Haute Cabrière in 1982 with the vision of becoming the first estate in South Africa to specialise in the production of wines in the style of Champagne. In just 34 years the brand, characterised by its iconic Haute Cabrière Chardonnay Pinot Noir, its fine Pinot Noirs, its celebrated Pierre Jourdan MCCs, and its lively Tranquille blend, has become firmly entrenched in the hearts and homes of wine lovers in this country and beyond.
Over the years Haute Cabrière has long charmed visitors with its perfect marriage of fine wine and gourmet cuisine. Now, with the arrival of new Head Chef Dennis Strydom, this iconic family-owned estate is evolving the menu at its acclaimed Cellar Restaurant to offer a more relaxed bistro-style experience to winelands travelers.
The restaurant is dressed in crisp, white linens, and features a series of sparkling handcrafted chandeliers. The cellar setting provides an intimate and sophisticated space; wonderfully cool on a scorching summer’s day, while the outside terrace boasts magnificent views and the perfect al fresco dining experience.
Embracing the Haute Cabrière philosophy of Sun-Soil-Vine-Man, a key component of this young chef’s philosophy is to let the finest local produce shine through in each and every dish.
“I want my food to be honest; no gimmicks. Everything on the plate needs to be there for a reason, it needs to add flavour to the dish,” explains Strydom. “I think as chefs we sometimes need to stand back and let the plate and the produce speak for itself.”
With fond childhood memories of growing up on a farm, Strydom is eager to incorporate fresh produce from the restaurant’s expansive vegetable gardens into the three- or six-course tasting menu; the upscale option for diners seeking a culinary journey through the farm’s food and wine offering.
While the new à la carte and tasting offering cement Haute Cabrière’s position as a sought-after destination-dining venue in the Franschhoek valley, the casual Terrace menu remains hugely popular with tourists and travellers looking for a light bite before or after a wine tasting experience in the cellar.
The Terrace menu offers generous bistro fare, with delicious choices stretching to a platter of local cheeses and charcuterie or a homemade burger topped with Healey’s mature cheddar. On warm summer afternoons, the classic salad niçoise is a perfect match for Haute Cabrière’s famous Méthode Cap Classique.
Guests can enjoy dinner al fresco, soaking up some of the finest sunset views in Franschhoek from the spacious lawns framing the cellar. The ‘Piccolo’ children’s menu has also been revamped, with a kid-friendly selection including a ‘piccolo pasta’ and finger-friendly toasted sandwiches.
So whether visitors are after a light meal on the terrace, bountiful seasonal fare with a great view or a gastronomic journey all paired with exquisite wines, it’s all on offer at Haute Cabrière.
Haute Cabrière’s Tasting Room and Cellar Restaurant are both situated on Franschhoek Pass (Lambrecht Street), Franschhoek. The Cellar Restaurant is open for lunch and dinner from Tuesday to Saturday and on Sunday for lunch only from 12h00 to 15h00.
The Terrace menu is available from Tuesday to Saturday from 15h00 until 17h30 during the summer season.