My personal relationship with Four Cousins Wines began when I was in my late teens and the drinking of saccharinely sweet rosé was considered the appropriate choice for any occasion from weekend house parties to holidays at the seaside. Later on, after developing my preference for crisp dry whites and the robust spice that I value in reds, the allure of the dessert wine fell from favour and I found myself exploring other wine brands.
Yet when it comes to the simple appeal of value for money, there are few other wineries in the Western Cape that offer it in the same abundance that Four Cousins does. I recently had the pleasure of taking a trip out to the Van Loveren Wines brand home in Robertson – a town which in itself is worth a visit – and was it was an unexpected surprise to find a stylishly contemporary space that celebrates the Four Cousins label. Featuring their comprehensive selection of wines, the Four Cousins brand home also plays host to myriad other ventures of this talented family business – including Scottish Cousin whisky, Boet craft beer and their cream liqueurs – as well as their own restaurant.
It was in the latter that I’ve truly begun to see Four Cousins as a brand that offers up the unexpected. An airy industrial space, the restaurant features an attractive use of slate-coloured steel girders, large picture windows and warm wood to create a chic space that is not only inviting but caused me to go into the kind of aesthetic overdrive I haven’t experienced since my visit to Mulberry & Prince. Think monochromatic floors, polished glassware, fabric napkins and best of all, chunky Art Deco-style chairs covered in dusty pink velvet. The menu presents an array of tempting options that wouldn’t be out of place in a top city eatery but since this is Van Loveren territory and they want to share the love, the prices mimic the convivial atmosphere and you won’t be left out of pocket. Choose from artisanal flatbreads, West Coast Sole, Chateaubriand with roasted bone marrow, Buttered Gnocchi with truffle oil or the Chicken Parmigiana for an unforgettable a la carte meal or opt as I did for the steak.
Since I treat the consumption of any meat as an occasional treat, my decision to brave the sirloin came from the restaurant’s treatment of it’s steak – six options explain exactly how the diner can request their steak to be prepared – a feature that seems to lack on most menus today. Option two (rare) was my choice and my 200g sirloin arrived exquisitely plated and joined by a butternut purée, crisp golden chips, a creamy pepper sauce and a glass of Four Cousins Singles Cabernet Sauvignon that it, combined with my environment of pink velvet, was so highly reminiscent of an upmarket Parisian salon circa 1939 that I had my second aesthetic attack of the day.
Luckily that during these little instances, I only ever abuse my camera, never my health.
Dessert arrived in the form of a classic Sticky Toffee Pudding served with crème anglaise and a toffee shard, which I paired with a glass of Van Loveren’s Christina Shiraz and afterwards, a small nap in the car on the way home. The Four Cousins fare is that good.
To best experience the Four Cousins homestead, I would recommend taking a weekend to pay them a visit and involve yourself in an extended afternoon of tasting what’s on offer. Then extend your stay even further by curling up over an intimate dinner with loved ones at this yet unrivalled assemblage of crafted wines, delicious food and the kind of welcoming benevolence that can only come from a family-run business.