If you live in Cape Town and have never been to Groot Constantia, or are visiting Cape Town, it is more than a worthwhile visit. Stunning buildings in the Cape Dutch style. The Manor house was rebuilt after a fire in the 1920s. Two excellent restaurants, a superb museum, and some of the most sublime wines produced in the Cape. The mantle of Simon van der Stel has fallen on the shoulders of multi award winning Boela Gerber. The Groot Constantia Chardonnay 2017 matches his red and sweet wines in equal stature.
The grapes for the Groot Constantia Chardonnay 2017 come from two vineyard blocks which are set at different altitudes on the slopes of the Constantia Mountain. Both vineyards are planted in Clovelly soils. The vineyards of the Estate benefit greatly from the cool breezes off the Benguela Current on the Atlantic side which come tumbling down through the vineyards during the day time, ameliorating the summer heat in the vineyards. Breezes up from False Bay during nocturnal inversion add to the temperatures and allow for longer hang time before harvest, thus greater flavour in the grapes. Once harvested the grapes are brought to the cellar, destalked and crushed and then taken to French Oak Barrels. 35% of the barrels were new, 40% were 2nd fill, 11% 3rd fill and 14% 4th fill.
Some barrels went through Malolactic fermentation. Frequent rolling of the barrels helped blend the lees during the maturation period of 10 months to enhance the mouth feel. Spontaneous fermentation was used on 20% of the blend. The wine was then prepared for bottling.
It looks like
Bottled under natural cork in a Burgundy shaped bottle, embossed with the word Constantia in glass on the neck of the bottle. This is an indication that all the grapes used come from the Constantia Wine Appellation. The label is an enchanting etching of the Manor House with calligraphy, certainly setting expectations high before you even have the cork out. In the glass, it is a rich hay colour with flashes of moss green when help up to the light.
It smells like
Classical Chardonnay citrus whiffs, from fresh nartjies to windfall oranges. And the expected oak, vanilla and its concomitant spices.
It tastes like
From entry, a fullness of palate, billowing out in the mid palate and into a long aftertaste. The soft citrus acidity runs through like a golden thread from start to finish. Roasted nuts in undertow, in this amazingly creamy wine.
It’s good with
This is a wine built for food. Or the most serious of sipping, a quaffer it is not. Justine Wall’s Almond Chicken Curry is a perfect match for all the flavours in the Groot Constantia Chardonnay 2017. Justine who was born in KZN now lives in the wilds of Wiltshire. Click here for her recipe.
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