Drinks, food, houses, Uncategorized

Holden Manz Wine Estate

As this year’s perfectly windless Cape summer winds down, the joys of the winelands start to beckon again while roaring log fires, leisurely lunches and scenic walks become the order of the day. Five-star manor house, Holden Manz (formerly Kleingenot), in Franschhoek is a magical  spoil-yourself getaway. Nestled between the Franschhoek and Stony Brook rivers and with magnificent mountain views, this 22-hectare wine estate offers everything you could want in terms of luxury and comfort. As we walked through the doors, our suitcases were whisked out of our hands and replaced with cool glasses of water and moist, scented towels, and this kind of loving attention to detail became the hallmark of our stay. After a brief freshening up, a very respectable high tea of home-made quiche, miniature sarmies, brownies and scones was served on the verandah (instead of tea we tucked into a delicious bottle of Holden Manz rosé – it was after five, after all). Then, we had the difficult choice of either strolling around the beautiful grounds, having a pre-dinner snooze or snuggling up on the one of the comfy indoor-outdoor couches and enjoying one of the many coffee-table books on wine, photography and art that are scattered about the homestead. True to form, we went for the snooze option – a fine choice if ever in doubt. Once we were sufficiently revived from that arduous hour of ladelling clotted cream onto scones, we strolled up to the main house to enjoy a drink in front of a roaring log-fire before sampling the delicious fare of new chef, Cheyne Morrisby. Cheyne has cooked for the likes of Kate Moss, Robbie Williams and Kylie Minogue, and his menu favours seasonal fare, using vegetables and herbs grown right there on the farm (the prawns with risotto starter and pork belly main were distract-your-partner-and-steal-his yum). We were still so full after our perfect night’s sleep on a bed the size of a small country we could barely force down the next morning’s breakfast of locally sourced salmon and cheeses followed by eggs and bacon, but we managed - just in time to lie down again and enjoy a languorous massage at the guest house’s own spa. Then, we took a drive into town to visit the newish Holden Manz gallery at 30 Huguenot Street. Owner Migo Manz is a keen collector of South African art, and the guest house boasts an impressive collection of works by Karin Miller, Luhanri Bekker, Marie Stander, Andre Villiers, John Major, Christiaan Diedericks, Johan Louw, Adrian van Zyl, Billie, Athol Moult and Cecil Skotnes. Migo is passionate about promoting up-and-coming South African artists, and his gallery in town has an exclusive contract with Karin Miller whose playful, thought-provoking and distinctively South African collages beautify the luxurious interiors of the Cape Dutch-style guest rooms. Her art is relevant and irreverent, and comprises a fascinating combination of photography, graphic art and digital manipulation. Karin’s sense of humour, combined with astute observations of South Africa’s socio-political history, are evident in her choice of icon, and no one is spared her ironic glance. Her art is still very affordable, so if you’re looking to invest in something unique, beautiful and intrinsically South African, you can’t go wrong. We decided to grab a sandwich in town, but if you’re back at Holden Manz in time for lunch, the guest house will pack a beautiful picnic basket for you to enjoy beside the Franschhoek river with a delicious bottle of the farm’s own wine. Or, if the weather is inclement (like it was for us) do something utterly fabulous and light the fire in your room, snuggle up under the covers with a book, and enjoy the most  decadent and delicious session of chill ever. In a word, heaven. Come Sunday, if you’re feeling gesellig, head up to the restaurant and join the La Dolce Vita Sunday event where couches are pulled out onto the lawn and guests enjoy tapas and wine amidst the magnificent surrounds of the farm. In terms of making their guests feel pampered and loved, the Holden Manz team spares no expense. The bathroom is stocked with gorgeous Africology products, big, fluffy towels abound and there is (literally) a bucketful of rose-petal bath salts beside the bathtub with strategically placed candles for the kind of indulgent soak one never gets around to enjoying at home. You’re peckish? Platters of rolls, tapas and snacks appear miraculously like they were delivered by the fairies, themselves. Thirsty? Name your poison – nothing is too much trouble. For the more zen amongst us, Holden Manz also offers yoga workshop weekends where guests enjoy a series of private yoga lessons by in the manor’s specially designed yoga room. The venue also hosts weddings, conferences and private events. A special Winter Secret rate is available from May to the end of July at R995 per person per night. Phone 021-8762738 or e-mail collette@holdenmanz.com for bookings. The Franschhoek Kitchen is open for lunch and dinner from Tuesdays to Saturdays and Sundays for lunch. Call 021-876-2729, visit holdenmanz.com or e-mail wayne@holdenmanz.com. Text: Susan Hayden Images: Supplied