Opstal: The Secret of the Slanghoek Valley

by Jared
 * This article originally appeared here in VIEW Magaloque

Visitors to the Western Cape are spoiled for choice with a seemingly never-ending list of staycation options, many of them, a mere one hour’s drive from Cape Town. Scanning through my emails one day, I noticed an invitation to visit the Slanghoek Valley. Curiosity piqued, my immediate response was ‘where on earth is that?’ Trusting that I’d find more than just reptiles in this corner of the Breedekloof Valley, I was off to visit this place with the intriguing name.

Opstal stay 

After a drive through the Winelands, rather than using the Huguenot Tunnel, I opted to take the scenic Du Toitskloof Pass. My golf seemed as excited as I was and coasted up the scenic mountain pass with ease. Descending again into the Slanghoek Valley via the pass only added to the sense of anticipation and awe, being flanked by the twisting, towering, Cape Fold mountains.

My home in the Valley would be the still-new Opstal mountain cottages. Opstal is a 7th generation family-run estate that rather impressively dates back to 1847. This revered family lineage is wholly tangible in the pride shown by the Opstal team. From reception, I was guided up the mountain to one of the cottages seeming to sprout from the earth themselves.

Sitting safely on the slopes of the mountains, surrounded by fragrant fynbos you’ll find the five Opstal cottages; although cottage hardly seems appropriate; they are among the most spacious holiday units I’ve ever stayed in.

Each one has a generous veranda with its own wood-fired hot tub and built-in braai, and then a large lounge and dining room with an inside fireplace. These mountain sanctuaries are tastefully and comfortably furnished – so much so that as much as I wanted to explore the surroundings, I was equally happy appreciating them from home. The high ceilings echoed the spaciousness of the surroundings, with plentiful windows ever eager to show off the nearby mountains.

Opstal wine

Not forgetting that Opstal was a fully-fledged wine estate, I couldn’t think of anything more exciting than being able to take a 15-minute stroll through the Fynbos and arrive at the farm’s tasting room.

The farm produces three ranges of wines: the easy-drinking Sixpence Range, the premium Estate range, and lastly the ultra-premium Heritage Range.  Sitting with winemaker Attie, we were transfixed as he animatedly led us through a tasting of Opstal’s wine. Desirous of wanting somewhere to hang his hat, he wants people to know ‘these guys love Chenin, and do Chenin well’. Desired drinkability but achieved versatility and finesse in the process.

My recommendations:

  • The Blush is a somewhat unusual blend of Syrah and Viognier, co-fermented to produces in a beautiful blushed salmon dry rosé.
  • The Carl Everson Chenin is utterly remarkable. An elegant balance of oak from this single old-vine vineyard, which is undoubtedly the poster child of their collection.
  • For a complex but not presumptuous white blend, try the Carl Everson Cape White Blend, made of Chenin, Roussanne, Sémillon, Viognier, and Colombar. Impressively awarded 94 by Tim Atkins and the wine proves itself.
  • Revisiting a decades-old process of blending some Cinsault with Cabernet Sauvignon, Opstals Estate offering is every bit delectable, with earthy and pronounced red fruit notes.

Tucked in safely between the Slanghoek and Badsberg mountains, the Valley may be a secret to many but is no small find. One and two-bedroom units are available, and prices start at R775pppn. Weekends are in high demand, so to secure your make sure to book in advance. opstal.co.za

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