If you live in Cape Town and have not visited Groot Constantia, please put it on your bucket list, it is a very worthwhile visit. For me, the white walled werf and the Manor House and its out buildings and the view down to False Bay are worth the trip. Wine, of course, has been made on the Estate for over 330 years from the time of the first owner, former Governor Simon van der Stel, through the Cloete family who made it a very desirable wine in Europe and for Napoleon whose exile days on St Helena were brightened with a glass of Constantia Wine. Today the mantle of Cellarmaster lies on the shoulders of Boela Gerber and his team. Boela is a member of the Cape Winemakers Guild, which is a gathering of some of the best winemakers in the Cape. The vineyards of the grapes in the blend all face south to south east. Soils differ from Glenrosa, Clovelly, Avalon, Hutton and Cartref.
The grapes for the Groot Constantia Constantia Rood 2017 were hand harvested and then vinified and matured separately for later blending. The blend is made up of 34% Pinotage, 30% Merlot, 18% Shiraz, 14% Cabernet Franc, and 1% each of Petit Verdot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Tannat, and Grenache Noir. You need to be an artist to blend 8 different grapes into a sum that is greater than its parts. Maturation took place over twelve months for each wine in French oak barrels of which 18% were new and the balance made of second, third and fourth fill barrels. Once matured, the wines were blended and the final blend was prepared for bottling.
From a Bordeaux bottle, closed with natural cork. The bottle has the word Constantia embossed in glass just below the neck, and indication that all the grapes are of Constantia Wine Appellation origin. The label is in the French Chateau style with an etching of the Manor House and elegant lettering. I the glass, the wine is an opaque bloodplum at the heart which pales out to a translucent ruby at the edges. The aromas are of ripe plums and Morello cherries. The palate if full and generous with the dark fruit again, Cassis, fynbos herbs and roadside fennel. The aftertaste is long and into it are interwoven the cashmere clad tannins and the supportive oak and the fruit acidity. Great glass. Eminently drinkable now, though will reward you well if cool cellared for a couple of years.
The Groot Constantia Constantia Rood 2017 is a wine made for heart food. Do chill it for about 30 minutes for extra enjoyment. Spicy South African foods, like Bobotie, a well flavoured boerewors off the braai, or a waterblommetjie bredie while the blommetjies are still in season. Dianne Bibby’s Smoky Joe’s beef fillet with salsa verde is a perfect match. Click HERE for her recipe and her website.
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