Bacco Wine Estate Italian Flavours in the Paarl Winelands

Winona Griggs

Bacco Estate: A Tribute to Italy in the Paarl Winelands

Imagine the flavors of Tuscany blending with the beautiful South African landscape.

As I walk down a path lined with young cypresses, I am greeted by magnificent red-brick buildings. These buildings have tall arched windows that offer a glimpse into the wonders that lie inside. Surrounding the estate are gardens filled with local plants and vines. The air is infused with the essence of Tuscany, and it’s no surprise. The owner of this extraordinary wine estate, Nathan Jankelowitz, wanted to capture the spirit of Italy in the heart of Paarl.

The name of this estate, Bacco, pays homage to the Roman god of wine, Bacchus. It’s an ode to Nathan’s profound love for Italy and its incredible Super Tuscan wines. Now, he has brought this passion to life in the breathtaking South African setting. The cellars are enveloped by stunning indigenous gardens, and the tasting room provides panoramic views of the majestic Paarl mountains.

Discover Super Tuscan Wines

Back in the 1980s, something exciting was happening in Tuscany. Winemakers were daring to do things differently. They were breaking away from the old traditions and experimenting with new and unfamiliar grape varieties. These rebellious wines were given the name “Super Tuscan.”

It all started when the winemakers decided to plant Bordeaux varietals in the region, even though it was uncommon. They took neglected farmland and transformed it into thriving vineyards. But they didn’t stop there. They also added vermentino and sangiovese grapes into the mix.

Bacco is a winery that continues this tradition of innovation. They follow in the footsteps of those legendary Tuscany winemakers. They have Martin Smith, an expert consultant cellarmaster, and Julia Blaine, a talented winemaker, guiding their journey. Together, they create wines that are inspired by Tuscan traditions but rooted in South African soil.

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Embarking on a wine adventure

Welcome to the wine-tasting lounge! It’s a fancy yet cozy place where you can enjoy exquisite wines and relax. On one side, you’ll be able to admire the beautiful cellar, filled with rows of perfectly lined bottles. On the other side, there’s an open-air terrace that offers breathtaking views of the mountains.

Our tasting menu currently features six incredible wines, each with its own unique taste and character. Three of them are white wines, and the other three are reds. You can choose between two tasting flights, each consisting of three wines, or you can go all out and try the full flight. It’s entirely up to you!

Now, let me share a little secret with you – our sangiovese is still aging in the barrel, but it will be worth the wait! In the near future, you’ll have the opportunity to savor its delicate flavors and enjoy the anticipation.

But that’s not all! We also have a divine selection of canapés that perfectly complement our wines. You absolutely must try the deep-fried lasagne – it’s an absolute sensation that will leave a lasting impression on your taste buds.

And if you’re really interested in the winemaking process and the stories behind it, I highly recommend taking a cellar tour. You’ll get an exclusive glimpse into how our wines are crafted and learn some fascinating anecdotes along the way.

Buon’ appetito!

When I walked into the cozy eatery, I immediately felt the Italian influence that permeated the space. The lunch menu, featuring small plates called cicchetti, changes every month, adding an element of surprise to the dining experience. Carla, Nathan’s daughter who returned from a decade-long chef journey in London, runs the show here. Alongside chef Steff Hoefnagels, they work their magic in the kitchen, crafting seasonal menus that celebrate local ingredients and pair perfectly with the wines on offer.

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There were a few dishes that really stood out for me. First, there was a beautiful pumpkin risotto that was bursting with flavor. The creamy texture of the rice combined with the rich and earthy taste of the pumpkin made for a truly delightful dish. Another highlight was the crispy squid served with a vibrant chili romesco sauce and crispy capers. The combination of crispy and tender textures, along with the bold flavors, was simply outstanding. And I can’t forget to mention the mouthwatering slow-cooked oxtail raviolo that left me craving for more.

Now, let’s talk about dessert because you definitely don’t want to miss it. Carla’s baked brie cheesecake has a smoky and slightly salty flavor that adds a unique twist to the classic dessert. Topped with Amarena cherries, it’s a real show-stealer. And if you’re a fan of tiramisu, you’re in for a treat. This kahlua-drenched dream of a dessert is the perfect way to end your meal. And if you’re still craving cheese, they have an excellent selection for you to create your own cheese board, which pairs perfectly with their flagship red wine blends.

As I drive away from Bacco, I can’t help but be captivated by the cypress avenue that stretches out before me. The sight of Paarl mountain and the Taal monument in the distance brings a sense of satisfaction to my journey through this ode to Italian cuisine and wine, perfectly expressed within the South African terroir.

Here’s something good to know: Bacco can be found on the Franschhoek Wine Tram orange route. Once you arrive, you’ll transfer to the estate’s comfortable bus, which will take you down the final stretch of dirt road. The tasting lounge and cellar, both adorned with beautiful red-brick design, were created by APPA.
If you plan to visit, keep in mind: Bacco’s opening times are from 11am to 4.30pm daily. For any inquiries, you can contact them at 063 296 2147 or send an email to
And for its location: Bacco Estate is situated on Simonsvlei Road.

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