I’m easily pleased but hard to impress. The development at Leopard’s Leap impressed me. The estate is located in Franschhoek, next to La Motte and actually shares the same owners. If you’ve been to La Motte, you have an idea of what to expect next door, only the best. I was invited to the launch event recently, which was attended by the who’s who, including Helen Zille. And me.
Leopard’s Leap is different from the usual wine estate offering. Wine tasting is obviously the focus and will be the first thing a visitor encounters. Walking into the impressively large open plan space, the wine tasting counter is front and fore, grabbing your attention. It pulls you toward it like a bug to a light but if you manage to resist it for long enough to look around, you’ll see some other very exciting things which will require your time and attention. At the far end of the space is Liam Tomlin’s culinary studio. This is what makes Leopard’s Leap different from most, instead of a restaurant there is a cooking school which offers either hands on cooking classes (24 stations) or cooking demonstrations for groups of up to 60 people.
Just like Liam’s Chef’s Warehouse in town, the culinary studio in Franschhoek also has a shop selling all sorts of high end kitchenware and cook books etc. I try not to browse too much because I inevitably find some kitchen implement I didn’t know I needed but now can’t do without!
If you’re not concentrating you might miss the rotisserie hanging out to the left of the kitchen. I don’t know how much that machine cost, but I imagine a lot. In fact it’s immediately apparent that no expense has been spared. Decor, lighting, equipment, everywhere you look, it’s the best and the finest.
Before heading back to the tasting counter, we’ll pop outside to sit for a minute on the expansive vernada with the beautiful view of mountains in the background and vineyards in the foreground. We were there in the evening and the lighting on the vineyards made them look beautiful contrasted against the dark night (see pic below).
Now back to the wine tasting. Leopard’s Leap has nearly 20 wines in 4 ranges. Most cultivars are represented, either individually or in blends. The wines a very reasonably priced with the top of the range family collection still coming in at under R100.
If you book a cooking demo or lesson at Liam Tomlin’s kitchen you will enjoy the Leopard’s Leap wines paired with Liam’s fantastic food. I know the food is fantastic because we had about 8 different dishes available for tasting on the night. The food was prepared fresh at some of the cooking stations all night long. Duck sausage, pork pancakes, chicken off the rotisserie on Asian salad, and much more. I ate way too much. I need to get back and learn how to make some of those dishes.
It was a fabulous launch event with great wine, stunning food and a good crowd of people. Nothing less would have been appropriate for this impressive new addition to the Franschhoek wine scene.