This was my second visit to the Devon Valley Hotel, the first being to experience some of the Taste Sensations of the Devon Valley Detour. I’ve done many wine tastings and pairings over the last year or two, but this time we were in for a unique experience, once I thoroughly enjoyed and would recommend for travellers and groups of friends looking for a tasting with a difference.
Enjoying a serene view of the valley from our table on the Vineyard Terrace, our host presented us with Devon Valley Hotel’s new pairing and tasting menu with a choice of wine-, whisky-, craft beer-, and gin pairing. This is a fantastic offering for a group of friends with diverse tastes and preferences – there is something for every palate. As I mentioned, I have enjoyed many wine tastings, and am typically choose wine over other beverages, so this time I thought I would be a little adventurous. I know I don’t enjoy beer at all, so a craft beer pairing would have been wasted on me and I’m not quite ready for whiskey just yet, so gin it was.
Being inexperienced as I am with all things gin, my vision is narrowed to a simple gin and tonic (which I don’t think I’ve even tasted that I can recall), so I was about to get a gin education with Devon Valley’s gin cocktail selection.
The first was probably my favourite combination: Blaauwklippen’s Triple African Botanical Gin of herbs, dried and fresh buchu and rooibos tea leaves, cloves, cedar wood shavings and pine adjoined by dark berries. This Stellenbosch gin served with cranberry juice, rosemary and dried cranberries was refreshing and light, a drink I could imagine replacing my typical red wine preference for a summer afternoon refreshment. My second favourite would be the Cape Town Rooibos Gin with juniper, orange peel and cinnamon flavours and served with lemon ice tea, lemon slices and mint.
The other two combinations, both with their distinctive and refreshing flavours and qualities, would not make it to my drink of choice, though were both interesting selections to sample, and I’m sure would be appealing to a more discerning palate.
Wilderer Fynbos Gin (Paarl): “Crafted from fynbos, roots and spices; including wild dagga, honeybush, buchu and devils claw. Served with almond salt, cucumber and soda water.”
Inverroche Verdant (Still Bay): “A blend of exotic African flavour, spices from the far East and Juniper berries from Europe. Fresh green and crisp notes followed by a soft aromatic floral finish. Served with tonic water, orange slices and herbal infused bitters.”
The rest of our group enjoyed a mix between the other pairing options. It was only the gin tasting that was served as a variety of cocktail blends, while the wine, whiskey and craft beer were paired with food selections that all looked scrumptious. The Vineyard Terrace also serves a selection of breakfasts, pizzas, burgers, sandwiches, salads and wraps – all with a magnificent setting and view thrown in.