I always look upon Groot Constantia as the cradle of the South African Wine Industry. It was on this beautiful Estate that wine making was really taken very seriously when it was granted to former Governor of the Cape, Simon van der Stel. Interestingly, also the man who founded Stellenbosch in the late years of the 17th century. The position of Groot Constantia is about as perfect as you can get. Breezes off the Atlantic Ocean and its chilly Benguela Current roll down the Constantia Mountain at night, as do gentle winds from False Bay in a process known as nocturnal inversion – warm air rising, and cool marine air being sucked in underneath. These cooling breezes help to ameliorate summer heat in the vineyards and allow the grapes to take longer to ripen in the vines, thus adding a fuller flavour to the resulting wine.
The grapes for the Groot Constantia Chardonnay 2017 come from 2 Chardonnay blocks on the Estate, planted on Clovelly soil, one at 75 metres, the other 123 metres above sea level. Hand harvested, the grapes were crushed, and fermentation [20% of the blend spontaneously fermented] and maturation took place in a mix of barrels, of which 35% were new, the remainder 2nd, 3rd and 4th fill for 317 days. Frequent rolling of the barrels during maturation blended the lees back into the wine to build the mouth feel of the final wine. Certain winemakers use phases of the moon to roll the barrels. Malolactic fermentation took place in certain barrels. The wines were then blended and prepared for bottling.
It looks like
Bottled in a Burgundy shaped bottle with the word Constantia bottled on the neck indicating that the grapes used all came from Constantia. Groot Constantia’s elegant ‘etching’ label. In the glass, it is a pale golden straw with lime green flashes.
It smells like
Mainly citrus, lemon and soft skinned orange fruit. Undertow of oak and its vanilla spices.
It tastes like
Very exciting from entry. Toasted almond brioche and barley sugar sticks. Full generosity of a variety of citrus fruit and melon right the way through to the long aftertaste where it is perfectly interwoven with the acidity and the wood. This is a wine seriously built for food.
It’s good with
Good as a glass on its own if you are wanting a serious wine to drink. Not a morning refresher or sundowner wine. Good with gentle Kerala Vegetable Curries, smoked salmon, angelfish or trout. Tracy Foulkes’s 40 clove Garlic Chicken is an excellent partner. Tracy is responsible for the food magic that is NOMU Foods I used to shudder at the thought, but the garlic cloves are whole with their skins on and cook out sweet and utterly delicious. Once you have cooked the dish, it will be very addictive. Click here for her recipe.
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