Allée Bleue has new heads of wine and hospitality, and I met with them yesterday to find out about their proposed changes at the estate, which is on the outskirts of Franschhoek. The dedication of the new managers is giving new energy to Allée Bleue.
I had visited the estate, created in 1690, a few weeks ago, and had an unsatisfactory experience at the entrance boom, and its Marché, commenting only about it on Facebook. It had been seen by the estate’s PR consultancy Manley Communications, and referred to their client Carol Maggs, who heads up wine sales. Impressively she contacted me, and we met at Villa 47 for coffee last Thursday, so that I could give her feedback about my brief visit, and so that she could update me about Allée Bleue.
I received an update about Allée Bleue from Carol, which included that they now have one of their staff at the boom as a welcome ambassador, together with the outsourced security staff. They have appointed a more senior staff member to run the Marché, located at the entrance, being an outlet which reflects the wines, olive oils, and balsamic vinegar of the wine estate. It also sells the fresh herbs grown on the farm, which are also available in major supermarkets. It sells Dalewood Fromage Brie and Camembert at unbelievably reasonable prices, and it has become a pitstop for me again on my way in or out of Franschhoek. One can buy bread baked on the farm, biscuits and rusks, and preserves too. It is a spacious area, making it a challenge to fill it to make it look substantial.
While the Marché is not a wine tasting centre, it does offer the tasting of their newest wines, the Allée Bleue Blue Owl Unwooded Chardonnay 2015 and Merlot 2014. Carol told me that the Chardonnay grapes for Blue Owl come from the neighboring farm Rivers Meet, which they bought recently. The farm teems with bird life, especially owls, and one has nested in an old barn on the farm, two chicklets having been born there already. The response to the new easy drinking wine range has been very good, the 2015 vintage Unwooded Chardonnay having sold out already. Blue Owl is sold exclusively via Pick ‘n Pay, and at Allée Bleue, at R50 a bottle.
Carol has been in the wine industry for twenty years. She told me that Jan Sleet does the Social Media for Allée Bleue, and refers all feedback to her client. Works of art by Emil Sogor are throughout the inside and outside of the buildings at Allee Bleue.
Carol told me about the new Hospitality division heads, being Kevin and Berdine Jansen, who very recently joined Allée Bleue. I met them at the estate yesterday. They are responsible for all food and accommodation services offered. Kevin and Berdine previously worked at Grootbos, for six years, and also at Thornybush Reserve, and at Singita. Allée Bleue has taken over the Bistro at the entrance to Allée Bleue again, once a favorite of mine, and has seen a number of different chefs, and even was outsourced for a while. Now it is back in-house, and Chef Ian Laubscher heads up the kitchen. They have decided to close on Mondays and Tuesdays during the winter period. The menu is being redone, I was told, with warm and hearty Bistro-style dishes. The farm herbs will play a larger role in the menu too. The umbrellas for outside seating are to be upgraded. They are planning to create cheese platters to offer with their wine tasting from June onwards.
The Allée Bleue wine range made by winemaker Van Zyl du Toit consists of :
# Methode Cap Classique (MCC): Brut and Brut Rosé (R120/R140)
# Starlette range: Sauvignon Blanc and Chenin Blanc blend, Shiraz Rosé, Rouge, and Pinotage (R46/R48/R52)
# Premium range: Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot blend, and Shiraz (R65/R110/R120)
# Platinum range: Isabeau (Chardonnay/Semillon blend), Pinotage, L’Amour Toujours (R100/R175/R185)
# Cape Ruby (R100)
Other departments at Allée Bleue are Fruit Farming and Herbs.
Disclosure: I received a sample pack of the Allée Bleue Blue Owl wines from Carol.
Allée Bleue, R44, Franschhoek. Tel (021) 874-1021. www.alleebleue.com Twitter: @AlleeBleue
Chris von Ulmenstein, WhaleTales Blog: www.whalecottage.com/blog Tel 082 55 11 323 Twitter:@WhaleCottage Facebook: click here Instagram: @Chris_Ulmenstein