Take a wine hotel set in its own estate, enhance the consumer offering with an exclusive shared ownership product and you have a high end destination experience that is hard to beat, even in today’s world of luxury long-haul holidays. Fiona Klonarides discovers why fractional ownership and fine wines are a match made in heaven – or Tuscany, California and South Africa to be more precise…
The wine connoisseurs may call them “New World”, but South African wines have a 350-year old winemaking tradition behind them. New cultivation methods and rich ancient soil is producing a string of exuberant, sunkissed award-winners that reflect the country’s sustainable cultivation ethic and diverse viticultural earth and they just keep getting better.
A new breed of restaurants in the Cape Winelands that showcase South African food with a contemporary twist have been engraving their names on the region’s food map. Franschhoek’s Le Quartier Francais and Reubens, for example, are well known favourites while twenty minutes away Stellenbosch has its own star, Terroir. When it comes to famous names, Constantia is a stand out in the wine world and La Colombe, located within the Constantia- Uitsig Wine Estate, is up there in the stratosphere along with such legendary names as The Fat Duck in Bray, England and El Bulli in Spain.
Even Gordon Ramsay, arguably Britain’s most volatile and versatile chef couldn’t resist bringing his brand to Cape Town and he couldn’t have picked a more five star setting. Maze, at Sol Herzner’s ultraexclusive, ultra-expensive urban oasis One and Only resort which opened last year (where views of Table Mountain come as part of the whole suite experience) is Ramsay’s first venture into African territory.
Overlooking the harbor at the V & A Waterfront, the 170-seat restaurant is an experience in itself. Maze’s heart is its show kitchen, and there’s a glass-fronted patisserie, the Wine Loft (packed with Cape Pinotage and Shiraz, home to 6000 bottles – yes three zeros – of famous and rare South African vintages and more than a hundred wines available by the glass, no less) while the outdoor terrace serves South African oysters, kingklip, yellowtail, Cape crayfish and Mozambican prawns as well as local game cooked Ramsay-style.