Every time I take the winding road up Devon Valley, I think to myself that this must be one of the most beautiful valleys in the world…and there is not a better way to enjoy this beauty than from the terrace of the Devon Valley Hotel. The hotel was recently upgraded, and boasts a revamped restaurant, called Flavours, as well as a new yummy menu.
The new owners have big plans to make this establishment one of the favourite spots for locals to come and relax. You can choose between the lighter lunch menu, with a variety of tappas, or the very exciting restaurant menu that changes every month to ensure that only the freshest seasonable ingredients are used. The pub area is delightful, with wooden floors, comfortable leather furniture and a crackling log fire. The pub also boasts one of the largest single malt whisky selections in South Africa. Many visitors do not know that the hotel is also the home of SylvanVale wines. The beauty of tasting wine here, is the fact that you sit comfortably, either in the pub area or on the terrace, weather permitting, and a dedicated wine waiter brings the wine to you and conducts the informal tasting.
The 2003 SylvanVale Chenin Blanc is made from 25-year-old Chenin Blanc vines and is a great choice for a terrace lunch – it sells for R28 per bottle.
I also enjoyed the 2003 Cabernet Sauvignon Rose, a dry rose, with loads of berry fruit on the nose. The rose sells for R33 per bottle.
For the Pinotage lovers amongst you, try the SylvanVale Pinotage Reserve – a true blockbuster. This inky purple wine is full of rich plum and mulberry fruit, and is made from a very old one-hectare vineyard below the hotel. The Pinotage received four and a half stars in Platter.
My favourite was the vinedried Chen in Blanc, a late harvested dessert wine. Unfortunately the 2000 vintage is sold out, but I am eagerly awaiting the next release in August! This wine will sell for approximately R75.
Good news for all the stickysweet fans, is that the SylvanVale vine-dried Pinotage 2002 will be released shortly. This is a pioneer wine – the very first vinedried, late-harvested Pinotage. Selected bunches of grapes were left on the vine, their stems snapped, for 2 to 3 weeks after normal ripeness, resulting in a super-ripe berry, but still maintaining their all-important addity. The wine has a powerful 15,8% natural alcohol, and spent 18 months in second-fill French oak barrels.
According to Craig Seaman, general manager, the aim is to create hand-made hospitality; guests must feel at home, relaxed, and part of the winelands` way of life. He is passionate about Stellenbosch and its people, and invites everyone to experience the Devon Valley hospitality firsthand.