It was a cool but sunny day when we left the hustle of the city and made our way out to Stellenbosch to review Jordan Wine Estate. A few days of rainy weather had left the skies crystal clear and the surrounding hills lush and green, and as we drove deeper and deeper into the farmlands we could feel the stress of the week gradually fade.
Jordan Wine Estate lies right at the end of the Stellenbosch Kloof Road, neighbouring De Morgenzon. You might think you’ve taken a wrong turn when vineyards start making way for cows grazing lazily by the roadside but then these suddenly make way for manicured lawns running down to a glassy dam, and vineyards stretching over the hills.
We arrived around mid-afternoon and were promptly checked in and shown to our room. The accommodation at Jordan consists of various cottages tucked away in the gardens. Our house entered into a living room area that led through to a spacious bedroom on one end and a large bathroom on the other. The rooms have been decorated in a clean, modern style with high ceilings and glass windows lining one side of the cottage allowing natural light to pour in.
There were several things that instantly won us over. When we booked our stay we were asked whether we preferred red or white wine, so that on arrival they could welcome us with a bottle. Once we had settled in I poured two fat glasses of the Jordan Black Magic and relaxed into the deep cocoon chairs on the patio to take in our new home for the day.
We were also thrilled to find a fireplace in the middle of our cottage, providing heat throughout the room. This along with a deep bathtub and thick, fluffy robes were all very convincing reasons to grab an early dinner somewhere and snuggle up in our house for the rest of the night.
Late afternoon we set out to explore the farm and found ourselves tackling the surrounding slopes in search of better and better views. The higher we went the more we could see of the valley below and when we finally reached the top of the hill we were could see all the way to Table Mountain on one end, to False Bay on the other and the entire Stellenbosch valley stretched out before us. It was breathtakingly beautiful.
When we visited the estate, Jordan restaurant was still closed for a seasonal break, which was so disappointing. They are a famous South African dining spot so do try to get a table. We also had the option to order a cheese platter from The Bakery to enjoy in our rooms but sadly we were too slow that afternoon and by the time we returned from our hike the kitchen had closed. The point is to plan ahead. Jordan is a little drive out of town and the surrounding restaurants are often booked for functions or jam-packed with diners. We ended up at Vredenheim next to Spier which is quite a random, old-timey spot but they make a mean oxtail stew and that was at least a nice treat on that seriously chilly winter evening.
We were eager to return to our house and by 9pm we had a fire going, a glass of red in the hand and our feet up. Temperatures were dropping outside but I was happy as a clam soaking in a warm bath, inhaling the smell of bath salts with candle light blending into the glow from the fireplace.
The next morning we woke up to another glorious winter afternoon with perfectly clear blue skies. Breakfast was served at The Bakery and we took our seat down by the lawns to really take in the view of the mountains reflecting in the dam.
Even if you don’t stay over I highly recommend visiting Jordan for the food. I find that hotel breakfasts are usually pretty standard – most of the time you choose between the Full English, Eggs Benedict, Omelets or French Toast. I loved the fact that The Bakery at Jordan had added a few twists. I ordered poached eggs with kale and potato rosti served with avocado and mushroom, a brilliant blend of savoury flavours and a nice alternative to a bread-based brekkie. I can also report that the coffee was excellent.
After breakfast we were treated to a wine safari. This has nothing to do with animals. Instead you and your guide / tasting representative take a safari vehicle up into the vineyards to enjoy a few glasses of wine accompanied by the most incredible views.
Inspired by the weather we requested a selection of white wines. I had my first taste of the Jordan Nine Yards Chardonnay while soaking up the mild sunlight and marveling at the valley in front of me, a patchwork quilt of red and rust shades. I think the “safari” is a brilliant way to experience the wines, also because our guide had extensive knowledge of the vineyards and each vintage in our glasses. We were taken to three different spots, each offering new views and stories about the farm.
Back at the tasting room we were taken through the rest of the wine selection and I was thoroughly impressed by everything from their lifestyle (more affordable) wines to the premium selection. In the end the Nine Yards remained a favourite, largely because it perfectly suited the beautiful day.
To end off we enjoyed lunch at The Bakery, choosing the burger with triple fried chips (guilty and worth it) and the fish and chips. Both of which were simplistic and yummy. I do recommend you book here in advance. They are clearly a very popular and we had to use all our best smiles to get a table.
If you are looking for a breakaway spot in the winelands I think Jordan is an excellent choice. Make sure you book for their restaurants in advance and go early to make the most of your stunning surroundings.
Head over to jordanwines.com for more.