Brandy tasting at Van Ryn’s

Brandy tasting at Van Ryn's

Our visit to Van Ryn's (map) was not only our first visit to a brandy distillery, but also the first brandy tasting that Kerry-Anne or I had ever attended - and I have to say that it was superb.

The Van Ryn's website lists several tasting options, and we had the pleasure of the Florentine Tasting, which I highly recommend. The Florentine presents four brandies, a 5-, 12-, 15- and (ultra-smooth) 20-year-old, all paired with delicate florentines (see the first photo below).

Jean, our taste-master, started off by explaining how you're supposed to cup the glass in your hand to transfer a little heat into the golden liquid. She then explained how you gently introduce the aroma to your nose, before taking the first sip and appreciating the refined liquid for the gold it is.

The atmosphere was sophisticated yet relaxed, and the personal attention - which allowed us to ask plenty of questions - was great. Van Ryn's looks pretty understated from the road, but once you're inside the complex you'll be surprised to see just how beautiful the buildings and gardens are. And besides, it's so close to Stellenbosch that it's a shame not to pop in for the short tour and tasting!

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