|Things to do|
Take the narrow bridge over the Lourens River and follow the line of stone pines and olive trees through Morgenster up to the Revel Fox designed tasting room, which is set above a dam, looking out towards the Helderberg Mountains. The view is splendid, but the venue doesn't have the sense of history of the magnificent old homestead, now closed to the public. The white walls of this large building are covered with vines, wrapping the structure in a green swathe right up to the roof, and giving it a sense of place amongst the vineyards.
Once inside, the feeling of being transported to Italy is undeniable – large marble tiles create a coolness which is welcome in the summer heat, huge clay amphorae stand on guard, rows of barrels are set behind glass and tables are laid and waiting for customers. A fireplace surrounded by couches is there for chillier days, but we sat at the long wooden table in the centre of the room and chose to taste both the olives in their various forms as well as the wines.
Morgenster olive oils are award-winning, both here and in Italy. The olive tasting includes green and black olives and olive pastes, as well as the oils, which come in spherical glasses – five oils and a balsamic vinegar. Olive oil should be warmed in cupped hands, releasing the perfume, and then you take a deep sniff and a sip. Taste it on bread if you like, but you won't get the full effect of rolling warmed oil in your mouth and tasting the different flavours. The extra virgin oil has peppery aftertaste, the Monte Marcello is buttery and rich, and the Don Carlo is both nutty and peppery. The olive oil flavoured with lemon zest was a real surprise. The smell and taste of fresh lemon zest was just right, true to life with no bitterness or artificiality. They suggest adding it to ice cream or cheese cake, not only to salads. We are not convinced – yet.
The Italian owner has planted some Sangiovese and Nebbiolo vineyards. Our favourite wine was the Tosca, a Sangiovese from their Italian Collection that includes a best selling and very delicious rosé.
Visit here and you can buy everything for a fabulous Italian evening: the olive oil, the balsamic vinegar and the wines… just add the pasta!
In 2015, well known Cape Town chef Giorgio Nava opened 95 at Morgenster and judging by the crowd at lunch on the day we visited, it is very popular. A stunning terrace looks down over the dam to the Helderberg mountains, and it's a view to soothe away all troubles. The decor is very modern and the menu has strong Italian influences. I really enjoyed my ravioli of slow baked Karroo lamb and my friend relished the calf's liver. And the real Italian ice cream, superb!
Morgenster White 2015
Mon - Sun and Public Holidays 10h00 - 17h00
95 at Morgenster Restaurant:
Tues - Sun 12h00 - 15h30
Thu - Sat 19h00 – 21h30
Closed: Good Friday and 25 December
95 will be closed for winter from 1 May to Oct 2017
|Things to do|
Morgenster Estate, Somerset West, South Africa, -34.083936, 18.885006999999973