Bubbly and Bushwhacking at Villiera Wine Farm

Fizz, champers, MCC, Sparkling Wine or Cap Classique. Whatever you call it, there’s nothing quite like a day spent in the Cape Winelands relishing a glass of bubbles made in the Méthode Traditionnelle style. However refined this excursion, one must usually travel a little further afield to experience a bit of rugged wildlife. Not so at Villiera – where guests are treated to the best of both worlds, with an extensive bubbly tasting and game drive through their 220ha wildlife sanctuary.

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A half hour drive from Cape Town, the tree-lined avenue, rusty and golden in the winter sun, welcomed us to their tasting room (known as the Wine Sanctuary). The sounds of popping corks and chatter livened the terrace – where guests recline on sunnier days.

While Villiera produces white, red and dessert wines, their name is synonymous with Méthode Cap Classique (MCC) Sparkling Wines – The Grier family producing some of South Africa’s very first bubbles back in the 1980’s. Fast forward several years and they make almost every iteration of MCC – four of which are delectably paired with Sally Williams nougat in their ‘Bubbly and Nougat Tasting’ experience – one-half of the purpose for our visit.

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Bubbles and Nougat
Guided by the friendly and attentive Timothee, we began by sampling their Grier Brut – imported from Domaine Grier (their family-owned farm in the South of France). This delightfully fresh and ‘green’ bubbly is wonderful to taste in relation to the Villiera MCCs as it’s made with Maccabeu- not a grape we typically produce in SA. After a healthy swig, we bit into a crunchy honey, almond and cranberry-flecked nougat that highlighted the fruitier elements of the Grier.

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Each pairing that followed was exceptionally tasty – the dry finish of each glass offset by the sweet nougat that we devoured between sips. With six different MCCs in total, there is no doubt that you’ll find something your palate will love. Their Villiera Tradition Brut is creamy and biscuity, while their accolated Monro Brut nutty and bold.

In a sweet ending, we finished off with their Tradition Brut Rose. This salmon pink glass of happiness (a blend of Pinotage, Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay) was paired with a bite of Turkish delight – a visual and sensory pleasure.

While not part of the official tasting, we were also treated to a bit of their low alcohol Starlight MCC as well as their Brut Natural (an innovative and environmentally Blanc de Blanc with no added sulphur) – both testament to their progressive attitude in the sphere of all things sparkling.

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Gambolling Game Drives
The rumble of the farm’s Toyota Hilux ‘bakkie’ (4 x 4) signalled the start of our game drive. Bundling into the back, we wrapped ourselves in the provided blankets and set off to scout for the birds and wildlife the sanctuary is home to.

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Guillaume, our amusing guide and driver, truly helped to open our eyes to the wonder of each animal and bird we encountered. Even those of us who might consider ourselves old hands at game drives left feeling newly inspired by the purpose of the stripes on a Springbok, the reason for the sound of a Kudu’s hoof, the behavioural patterns of Zebras (male zebras bite each other’s tails so if you’re identifying gender, look for a stubby tail!), and heft of the mighty Eland (the largest antelope in the world).

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We were even fortunate enough to spot our national bird, the majestic Blue Crane, and hear the haunting cry of a Fish Eagle as she came in to nest.

While we delighted in fauna and flora both big and small, spotting everything from bees to the resident herd of giraffes, Guillaume enlightened us as to Villiera’s sustainability practices.

Not only have they contributed to the planting of over 100 000 indigenous trees, but they also make use of solar power, drip systems to irrigate and proudly haven’t sprayed insecticides for over 13 years – instead, making use of a flock of Peking ducks to control pests.

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While our two hours in the bush came to an end all too quickly, I look forward to recreating the bubbly and nougat experience at home with their exceptional range of MCC.

Book Your Bubbly and Bush Tour

  • Booking is essential for both the bubbly and game drive experiences.
  • Email wine@villiera.com or call + 27 021 865 2002 to book.
  • Alternatively, see Villiera’s website for more.

Wine Tasting Hours:

  • Monday – Friday 09h00 – 17h00, Saturday 09h00 – 15h00.

Images courtesy of Villiera

Blog post by: Tarah Darge

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