Included in the definition of the word IDIOM is “a style or form of artistic expression that’s characteristic of an individual, a period or movement...”. This description is certainly evident at Idiom Wines at the De Capo vineyards in Somerset West. Artistic expression is a common thread, running from the superbly created wines, to the architecture of the wine tasting centre to the plates of food that are produced by Chef Zane Pelser.
Location, Location, Location
Location they say is EVERYTHING. With a stunning granite mountain as the backdrop, the vineyard overlooks the village of Sir Lowry’s Pass and well beyond to the Atlantic Ocean. The estate is home to South Africa’s biggest collection of Italian grape varietals, 17 in total. These varietals reflect the estate owners’ Italian and South African heritage. The name of the vineyard – De Capo – is Italian for “new beginnings” - apt considering they started this wine making journey as recently as 1998. The Bottega’s joint heritage also extends to the restaurant, which is housed in a building that merges modern with old world charm. The stone cladding and timber frame provide warmth and ‘softness’ against the concrete and glass. Sweeping views over the valley and vineyards add to the dining experience.
Nosh with a bit of Posh
The restaurant is relaxed but sophisticated - the menu reflects this. It features a combination of Italian and South African dishes, including pizzas with drool inducing toppings, like pork belly, fermented garlic and peppadew.
Lunch began with a bottle of the 2012 Idiom blend. A starter of squid ink ravioli filled with coal roasted chicken, confit garlic and artichokes, served with a parmesan veloute was a clear winner at our table. The al dente ravioli had just a hint of ink flavouring running through the pasta while the chicken filling was moist and delicately smoky. I am not a huge ravioli fan, but I polished of this dish in record time. The other stand out starter was the duo of ostrich – each mouthful delivering complex flavours, yet still light and refreshing on a hot summer’s day. The ostrich was served two ways, tartare and tataki style (which is a Japanese preparation where the meat is lightly seared but still raw).
The rest of our meal followed this pattern: well executed cooking, featuring quality fresh ingredients, considered flavour combinations that work in harmony. Prettily plated, unfussy yet sophisticated food that left you feeling satiated rather than stuffed. The dishes paired remarkably well with Idiom's wine offering. There is skill in not over complicating dishes, in putting together tried and tested flavours but elevating the taste experience or adding a fresh take on an old favourite. I really enjoyed Chef Pelser's take on food that's meant to represent both Italy and South Africa.
While there are views of the surrounding vistas from most parts of the restaurant, the prized seating especially if the weather is great, is on the patio. It's impossible to get tired of the scenery.
Service throughout our dining experience was prompt and professional.
Wines of distinction, magnificent views, warm hospitality and delicious food – Idiom clearly has an artistic style that’s best experienced in person. Go on make a booking, you don’t need more reasons to visit!
Bookings are essential: