Holden Manz Merlot – Winemaker’s evening

I think the Grande Roche set the trend some 20 years ago – where superb properties close for the winter months for the 4R’s – Refresh, Repair, Redo and…Relax. I decided to delay posting this until Holden Manz, the deluxe property in Franschhoek re-opened after their June break.

In Cape Town there are several great chefs doing their thing and outstanding wine is all around. There are superb restaurants with spectacular scenery on our doorstep. Wine and food dinners are everywhere and they have to be pretty damn good to work.  So what made this one so good?

Chef Cheyne Morrisby is a craftsman of note so we knew the food was going to be exceptional.


The wines were from Meerlust; Haskell; Thelema & Holden Manz – as my teenage daughter would say – OMG.


The property – owned by Gerard Holden, who knows a thing or three about luxury living and Migo Manz, who knows a thing or four about design and style – is superb.


But what made this evening a great success and different from the norm was the main players and their passion for what they do. Cheyne in the kitchen loves what he does and excels at it; combine that with four winemakers, each different, each presenting their wines like they are sharing with old friends and Gerard and Migo chatting with guests as one would with family in one’s home. It is that sort of place.

To the combinations –

2008 Meerlust Merlot with Shiitake mushroom & coconut cream risotto;

2008 Dombeya Merlot with Beef tataki, mustard, mirrin, micro herbs;

2009 Thelema Merlot Reserve with crispy duck breast, sweet potato & miso pureé with watermelon jelly (yes it works);

2008 Holden Manz Merlot with Karoo lamb, with kimchi and potato dauphinoise;

2009 Holden Manz Good Sport Port, with chocolate, nuts, caramel & honeycomb.

Presentation was perfect, fairly funky with food the focus. Flavours, textures – all worked well, but that was expected.

Bonus – sitting with great company including Gerard & Migo, and two gorgeous blondes, the writer’s writer Toni Younghusband – follow her on @Tony_Y and the so young with such a good palate http://www.rubytuesdays.co.za/

A quick one on the winemakers – the Meerlust was presented Chris Williams; Dombeya by Rianie Strydom; Thelema by Rudi Schulz & Holden Manz by Schalk Opperman. Different ages, experiences, styles – but all know their stuff, really well.

Head to Franschhoek, turn right at the monument, drive a bit and you’ll find it. Go visit – and if I’m there, please join me for a glass and a plate of something awesome.

The Franschhoek Kitchen is at Holden Manz, Franschhoek.  Call them on 021 876-2729.