I always like to think that I know the Western Cape pretty well, but now and then I hear about a restaurant or wine estate that’s completely new to me. Ernie Els Wines, by SA pro golfer Ernie Els, was one of those.
Ernie Els Wine Estate is located off the R44 between Somerset West and Stellenbosch. Surrounded by mountains and offering unparalleled views of an almost untouched scene, this estate is as seclusive as it is beautiful.
I visited the Ernie Els Estate on a day thick with clouds and rain and yet found such comforts and beauty in the haunting scenery. Of course, I love summer days with bright sunshine and blue skies, but there’s something quite spectacular in the snug comfort thick mist provides.
Perhaps everything just seems a bit more peaceful, shrouded in mystery.
Despite the cold outside, the interior of the main building at Ernie Els, which hosts, amongst much else, the restaurant, wine tasting rooms, shops, and a trophy room, was warm, bright, and cosy.
Ernie Els Wine & Cheese Pairing
After a quick walk through the property, my sister, Sabine, and I nestled down into a corner to enjoy the expansive views, taste some wines, and indulge in a cheese & charcuterie platter.
I really liked how spacious the wine tasting area was. Despite a steady roll-out of vaccinations and wavering cases, we are still very much in the midst of a global pandemic.
The tasting room was full – but at no point did it feel overcrowded.
Ernie Els offers two wine pairing options:
- Player’s Tasting (R50 pp)
- Major Tasting (R100 pp)
The Major Tasting, which we tried, may be a tad expensive, but Ernie Els does not skimp on its tasting sizes – and the wines are excellent!
My favourite was probably that Ernie Els Signature 2015. At R875 a bottle at cellar prices, tasting this is an absolute treat.
For me, wine pairings are best enjoyed with cheese and charcuterie platters.
We opted for the Charcuterie Board (R200), which included a selection of Dalewood cheeses (Camembert, green fig Brie, and Boland), salami, roasted beef pastrami, apricots, walnuts, kalamata olives, hummus, and a selection of bread.
The platter was beautifully done, with good portion sizes and a great selection. I’m also a huge fan of Dalewood, and their cheeses add delight to any platter.
Of course, the wine & cheese pairing is plenty.
For the average folk, driving out to Ernie Els to enjoy this tasting is enough for a satisfying day.
But for the hungry folk, there’s still the estate restaurant.
Ernie Els Restaurant
After a short period to digest the goodness and enjoy the atmosphere of the tasting room, we meandered over to the rather bustling restaurant for a sit-down lunch.
Since we visited on a miserably cold & rainy day, it was a little cramped – but this will not be the case if you’re joining them on a better day when the outside terrace is available too.
The Ernie Els Restaurant Menu
The restaurant doesn’t offer a very extensive menu, but sometimes there is beauty in simplicity.
You can enjoy a small selection of starters, pastas, and burgers, but the bulk of the menu focuses on steaks and grills. There are also fish and vegetarian options available.
Since we already had the cheese & charcuterie platter, Sabine and I skipped the starters and headed straight to mains.
All main dishes come with a sauce and side of your choice.
The Meaty Side
Sabine and I both opted for meat dishes.
- Sabine had the 250g Dry Aged Rump Steak (R200), served with a red wine jus and hand-cut chips.
- I opted for the 300g Fillet Medallions (R300), served with a mushroom sauce and Mediterranean vegetables.
Both meals were delicious – decent portions & good flavours.
My beef fillet was a tad too rare (I ordered it medium) but I decided not to send it back and ate it as is. It was very good.
I found out later that the Ernie Els Chef is actually a vegetarian and doesn’t cook the meats herself, which is a bit odd for a restaurant focused so extensively on grills. That probably also explains my underdone fillet.
But, nonetheless, the flavours were there, and I had nothing to complain about.
When I posted the dishes on I Love Foodies Instagram Stories the day I visited, I did have numerous remarks about the price of the fillet medallions.
I certainly agree with all the comments made that R300 is very expensive for what you’re getting – and much more than what you’d pay at top-notch restaurants in Cape Town.
That said, you can enjoy wines at cellar door prices, so if you’re visiting the restaurant to enjoy fine wine and food with friends, you may still end up getting a good deal overall.
All Good Things End With Dessert
The Ernie Els restaurant doesn’t have a set dessert menu, but you can enjoy a homemade ice cream or a dessert dish on any given day.
When we visited, the dessert of the day was Malva pudding with custard.
If you know me, you’ll know that I go gaga for custard. My good friend Dean from InstaEats even gave me a tub of custard for my birthday once – and I was overjoyed.
The Ernie Els pudding with custard did not disappoint. The Malva was moist and sticky, the custard creamy and delicious, and the whole dish an absolute treat.
I can only hope that this pudding will be a regular at the estate.
Visiting Ernie Els Wine Estate
I loved visiting the estate.
Whether you’re there for a wine tasting and cheese & charcuterie pairing or a drawn-out Sunday lunch with good wine, you’re pretty much guaranteed to have a good time.
Throw in some amazing views and great hospitality, and you’re all set.
If you haven’t been, Ernie Els is definitely worth checking out.
Ernie Els Contact Details
You’ll find all the contact details for the Ernie Els wine estate below.
Address: Ernie Els Wines, Annandale Road, Stellenbosch, 7600
Tasting Room – Monday to Sunday (09:00 – 17:00)
Restaurant – Wednesday to Sunday (lunch only; 12:00 – 15:30)
Call: +27 21 881 3588
Article Date: September 2021
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