Groot Constantia Gouverneurs Reserve 2016, good at supper with Alida Ryder’s Chicken Fried Steak…

Groot Constantia Gouverneurs Reserve 2016

When you, 300 plus years after the event, wear the mantle of Governor Simon van der Stel, the desire to make a wine of sufficient stature paying homage to him, must surely be high on your list. Boela Gerber, the Award Winning Cellarmaster of this venerable old Wine Estate, and his Vineyardist ‘Flo’ Beukes, are in tune with each other, Flo delivering the finest grapes to the Cellar for Boela and his team. I remember Boela telling me once how quickly Flo ‘got’ the vineyards at Groot Constantia and the special care he and his team took of them, turned them around in a couple of years, from good to extraordinary.

Petit Verdot, the minor grape in the blend

The grapes for the Groot Constantia Gouverneurs Reserve 2016 are a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon [64%], Cabernet Franc [17%], Merlot [11%], and Petit Verdot [8%]. The vineyard blocks are planted on three different soil types, Glenrosa [known for its excellent water retention properties], Cartref and Hutton. These grapes are earmarked on arrival in the cellar and quality assessment for this blend. While separately vinified, they undergo the same treatment with pump overs taking place four times a day and then allowed maceration of the skins for 4 weeks. Maturation took place for 14 months in 225 litre French oak barrels. 73% of these were new, the balance was second and third fill barrels. The wine was then prepared for bottling.

Boela Gerber, photo by John Ford of Adamastor & Bacchus

From an elegant Bordeaux shaped bottle, closed with natural cork. The word Constantia is embossed in glass above the label to signify that the grapes used all came from the Constantia Wine Appellation. The label is a classical etching of the Manor House, very much in the style of the Bordeaux Chateaux.  In the glass, the wine is bloodplum in colour at the heart which pales out to ruby at the edges. The aromas are so typical of a blend like this, black and red berries and cherries, and oak with its concomitant spice and vanilla. These are repeated on the fulsome palate supported by fine, yet firm, tannins. Lovely long aftertaste. While eminently accessible now, the Groot Constantia Gouverneurs Reserve 2016 has all the elements which will reward you after a couple of years of cool cellaring.

Alida Ryder’s Chicken Fried Steak with gravy & mashed potatoes

Elegant sipping wine the Groot Constantia Gouverneurs Reserve 2016. And superb with food – do chill it slightly for added enjoyment. As a partner, the traditional Sunday Roast comes to mind, with real gravy and rustly roast potatoes. However, a well-prepared supper dish in the middle of the week after a hard day will happily accompany this truly sublime wine.  As a supper dish, Alida Ryder’s Chicken Fried Steak with gravy and mashed potatoes is brilliant. Perhaps more common in the USA where it is sometimes referred to as Country Fried Steak, it is a thin piece of beef which is dipped into a batter and deep fried, much like the chicken served by the well-known Colonel Harland Sanders. Click HERE for Alida’s recipe and to have a good look at her fabulous website.

Alida Ryder, one of South Africa’s most talented & exciting food writers

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