Underground tasting experience at 55/800 – Esona, Robertson

Wine farm 55 of 800 is Esona Boutique Wine Farm in the Robertson Wine Valley.

Esona (pronounced ‘Air-son-na’) is the Xhosa word which means “The very one.”

The farm was bought over by Rowan and Caryl Beattie in 2004 who transformed the 17 hectare farm (then farming mostly vegetables) into the boutique wine farm it is today. They released their first bottle of Esona wine in 2010.

The old cellar and concrete vats were transformed into an underground tasting room where you can do a vertical tasting in Riedel glasses.

ACTIVITIES and OTHER AMENITIES: 

  • Vertical Wine Tasting – R30 per person for 3 wines (Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Shiraz) two vintages each
  • Taste the Difference pairing – Vertical wine pairing in Riedel glasses, underground for R130 per person
  • Deli
  • Wine shop

BOOKINGS: Bookings are not essential but are recommended to avoid any disappointment:  info@esona.co.za
WHEN TO GO:  Summer or Winter. It is particularly nice to sit in the cold cellar on a super hot day.
SERVICE: Friendly and knowledgeable.
CHILD/PET FRIENDLY? No
LARGER OR SMALL GROUPS? Smaller groups of around 2-4 people are perfect.
LOCATION: About a 2.5 hour drive from Cape Town in Bonnievale. Google Map
OTHER RATINGS:  CLICK HERE to see what others had to say about this farm on Trip Advisor.

TripAdvisor

Here is my experience:

What a stunner of a day and what a great time to be alive! pushing 42 degrees and not a breath of wind. Robertson is always a lot warmer than Cape Town.
The farm is just off one of the main roads so it is super easy to find and is very well sign posted. The parking is on a gravel road and there is no shade so if you do visit, rather bring a shade cloth to cover your dash.

I particularly liked that you can walk through the vineyard to get to the wine tasting.
The wine tasting deck and deli is superb! Modern yet rustic with incredible views of the vineyards and old canal.

The seating is quite casual and comfortable PLUS to my delight, there were water misters on the ceiling to cool us down.

The vertical tasting happens underground where it is nice and cool in the summer and warm in the winter. There is no lighting downstairs except for the light of the candles – super romantic yet spooky at the same time. So lots of cuddles are very welcome.

The “Taste the Difference” tasting costs just R130 which is incredibly good value for money.

You will taste three wines (two vintages each) Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay & Shiraz all in Crystal Riedel glasses which cost almost R500 a pop!
It is called “Taste the Difference” because they pour you the same wine in a horrible “joker” glass and the wine tastes totally different! So having the right glass is very important.

Different music was played with each tasting – so you really are getting an all senses experience. Especially if you can grab a hand or a kiss from your partner in between 😉

This is the pairing you will get below. I photographed it in the light just so you can see it properly. The first pairing is Sauvignon Blanc and fig preserve. The second is Chardonnay and Orange rind and the third is Shiraz with prune preserve. In between each tasting, you are given some Lindt chocolate to cleanse the palate. Delicious!

Many different platters are on offer which are brought to you to enjoy on the deck.

The inside area is pretty cosy too with an indoor fire place. I can imagine what it would be like to hear the rain falling on the tin roof and the fire keeping you warm. Must be lovely!

 

Onto the wines then! 😀

I really enjoyed the Shiraz and because it was such a hot day, we needed to keep the bottle on ice!

The Shiraz 2013 was just R120 a bottle which is quite good for a single vineyard boutique wine farm which really doesn’t produce a lot of wine. You can distinctly taste ripe plums with peppery undertones. Somewhere in the back palate you can also pick up strawberries. It was wooded for 11 months and shows great potential should you keep the bottle for another 5 years.

The Sauvignon Blanc 2013 is R72 a bottle. You don’t come across many Sauvignon Blanc wines that don’t have a screw cap. This one had a cork. It had a good clean crisp taste with hints of grass, mint and tropical fruits.  As  you can see, the colour is extremely light and elegant.

 

 

Notice the hand print on the wine label? It is in honour of the farm workers who spend many hours hand picking the grapes so that only the best grapes are used. Plus, just look how beautiful this wine glass is!

The Chardonnay 2013 is R110 a bottle and was wooded for 9 months. You therefore get quite a nice buttery finish on the palate. On the nose you will notice apples and other citrus fruits which is why it paired so well with the orange rind soaked in syrup.

 

The wine shop downstairs is really quite sweet. You can purchase Riedel glasses here as well as some olive oils and pate spreads.

 

 

I really enjoyed my visit to this modern farm.

 

So which farm will be next? 🙂

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