I can remember the day I 1st discovered La Bri. It was at the Fijnwijn festival in Pretoria 4 years ago, and since that day, it has firmly remained on my list of favourites & was the real reason for the start of my love affair with Chardonnay. So I was rather excited to head to Franschhoek to visit the estate.
How is the view from the tasting room looking out over the vineyard & up onto the mountains? Definitely a spot that I can see myself sitting & enjoying a day of fine wines with friends.
Lets start off by just looking at these bottles? How simple, yet elegant right? So there is a story behind these. Every varietal has a specific flower that has been paired up with the wine. (Look at the top of the wine bottles & the colours, they match up with the colours of the flowers.)
- Viognier: Ixia Viridiflora (Green Ixia)
- Chardonnay: Clivia Miniata (Yellow Clivia)
- Syrah: Herbae (Herbs)
- Cabernet Sauvignon: Watsonia Alba (White Watsonia)
- Affinity: Geissorhiza Radians (Wine Cup)
- Merlot: Amaryllis Belladonna (March Lily)
Also, on that note. Ever flower used is found on the La Bri property. So much attention to detail. I love it. Read more here about the pairing of the flowers to the wines, it really is quite interesting.
So when I set out on this #WineRoutingWithLloyd trip, my mission was to find unique experiences to write home about. I must say, I found one at La Bri, that makes me smile every time I think back on it & I thank winemaker - Irene Waller for sitting down & talking me through it.
- Wine & Lokum pairing.
- Wine & Chocolate pairing.
- Wine & Biltong pairing.
Each pairing is unique in it's own way. Handcrafted local Lokum, or Turkish Delight as you may otherwise know it. Dark Belgian chocolate, which is handcrafted just down the road at the local chocolatier & then selected by the winemaker. Then a truly South African one, is Biltong.
Each pairing in it's own is something different, in tastes, textures & feels. For those wanting something more informal, the Biltong pairing is just that, where you are able to experiment with each, mixing & matching Biltong & wine to what your palate prefers.
The Lokum pairing, is not that pink & white powdered turkish delight that your grandma used to buy & stock in the cupboard. This delight is something more crafted & specific with roasted nuts, mint, apricot & even ginger. Don't worry, not all in the same piece though.
Then the dark Belgain Chocolates are made specifically for La Bri by the local chocolatier & are only available at La Bri. So you won't be able to buy them in store, which definitely makes it unique. (I must tell you that at one point after a bite of chocolate & sip of your wine, the aftertaste will be as if you've just eaten a peppermint crisp chocolate.)
I don't want to give away too much here in the tasting profiles & lead you on to what you should be tasting, as with a pairing I always believe you need to let your own palate tell you what you are experiencing.
La Bri boasts with a state of the art gravity fed wine cellar. And it it actually open for visitors to take a self-walk tour through.
One more thing to mention is that La Bri has introduced a new wine under 'Double Door.' Which initially was only a 'glipsie' as Irene says, but was just so good that they bottled it back in 2016 when the 11 rows of Viognier didn't have a good enough yield & the press had to be topped up with Chardonnay. Resulting in a 52% Viognier & 48% Chardonnay blend that is a must try.
So on a side note, my love affair for Syrah started the day I sat at in this tasting room. This is a interesting experience that gives you enough freedom to arrive not knowing a lot about pairing wines with foods, & play around until the pairing makes enough sense for your palate.
Check out La Bri here.
And naturally, #WineRoutingWithLloyd was riding through Franschhoek in the new Ford Kuga.