Jason`s Hill – A Real Slanghoek Treat
Hemmed in by mountains with breathtaking views over a majestic valley, Jason’s Hill Private Cellar is located in the heart of the Slanghoek valley, and a mere hour’s drive from Cape Town. Apart from offering the ideal setting for an enjoyable afternoon in the country-side, Jason’s Hill also have a whole bunch of attractions that will put a smile on your face.
The quaint little country shop, built from natural stone, takes you back to yester-year and your ouma’s kitchen. Everything in the shop is handmade and home-baked, ranging from charming country crafts to grungy primitives. Next door to the shop is a gigantic bird cage, filled with fascinating feathered friends of all shapes and sizes, and adventurous nature-lovers will be happy to know that the farm sports a 6.5 km hiking trail that offers breathtaking views over the Slanghoek valley and plentiful fauna and flora.
Then there’s the Cotton Top Monkeys, which must be the funniest creatures I’ve ever come across. They weight less than half-a-kilo and are extremely vocal. Researchers say that they make 38 distinct sounds! This species is critically endangered, having lost more than three-quarters of its original habitat to deforestation, but the good news is that their life span in captivity has been as high as 25 years, whereas life span in the wild is about 13–16 years.
After exploring the farm and all it’s fascinating attractions, it was time to quench our thirst with some of the estate’s award-winning wines. Winemaker Ivy du Toit keeps alive the tradition of vine growing and wine making for the 5th generation in the Du Toit family. Ivy is the first South African woman ever to win the Woman Winemaker of the Year Award in 2004 and Diner’s Club Young Winemaker of the Year 2003. It is therefore no surprise that Ivy walked away with a bunch of Michelangelo Awards and numerous other awards since the cellar opened its doors in 2002.
The wines in the Jason’s Hill range offer remarkable value for money and we were stunned when we saw the price-list. The Jason’s Hill wooded Chardonnay and wooded Viognier both walked away with silver medals at the Michelangelo Awards last year and retail at the bargain price of R32 a bottle. Simply unbelievable! We thoroughly enjoyed the Jason’s Hill sparkling Rose, priced at R34 a bottle, as well as the 2010 White Blend (R35), which received 4 star from the Wine Magazine.
The red wines did not disappoint either. The Jason’s Creek Classic red 2010 is a blend of Petit Verdot, Malbec and Cabernet Franc, which is pretty unusual and unique. A blend of some of South Africa’s most challenging varietals all in one bottle! Pretty brave but well executed. The wine is elegant, light and very palatable. The Jason’s Hill Merlot also impressed us at R59 and we could not help but wonder if some of the other wine regions in South Africa are ripping us off when it comes to price versus quality.
We decided to stay for lunch after a fun-filled and enjoyable tasting and thank goodness we did! My partner decided to try out Bistro@Jason’s ”Famous” Gourmet Burger (R75) for his ‘Burger Files‘ and I opted for the Oxtail Pie (R85). The burger scored the perfect score! The bacon on top of the homemade beef patty was perfectly fried, the camenbert and avo added a touch of creaminess, and the caramilised onion brought out a sensational sweetness in the taste.
The presentation of the Oxtail Pie was something else and almost to pretty to eat. The flavours of the meat were just heavenly and overall better than any past pot pie experience.
The chef, Maritza Cilliers, might only be 22 years of age but boy, she sure knows how to cook! After not expecting much, we were pleasantly surprised by the presentation and quality of the food. It was admittedly one of our best country-style lunches to date.
A visit to Jason’s Hill is a must for those with a taste of life. Friendly hosts, fascinating attractions, extreme value for money wines and food, along with spectacular scenery. What more can one ask for? It’s a real Slanghoek treat!