As children, my grandparents used to say to us, ‘in the olden days’ when referring to things which happened to them in their pasts. If only as a 9 year old, I was aware that these were people who were teenagers when Queen Victoria was on the throne and had questioned them so that I had more knowledge now about them as children.
What in fact was happening when they were children in the olden days was that phylloxera was plundering the Cape vineyards and the recipe for Constantia Wine was lost. The Cloete family, owners of Groot Constantia, created a golden era for Cape Wine in Europe in the late 18th and early 19th century. Beloved of Napoleon, who drank it in exile on the Atlantic island of St Helena, and the writers who wrote of it in their works, Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, Klopstock and French writer Charles Baudelaire and the collectors William Pitt the Younger, King Frederick of Prussia and Bismarck.
Today winemaker at Groot Constantia, Boela Gerber, replicates this great wine, known now as Groot Constantia Grand Constance 2013, using both red and white Muscadel from the vineyard block, which is right next to the Manor House. The wine has no botrytis and is not fortified.
After a long ripening period on the vine, the sweet bunches are harvested, fermented on the skins for about a week and then pressed. 26 months were spent in French oak barrels before the wine was prepared for bottling.
It looks like
Beautiful packaging in a lovely shaped bottle with an elegant ‘calligraphy’ label, the bottle embossed with a glass logo. On the glass a rich amber in colour – serve it generously in a wine glass.
It smells like
Fynbos honey. Soft sun dried apricots. Rose petals and Turkish delight.
It tastes like
Rich unctuous palate. Packed with dried fruits, honey, and white tropical flowers
It’s good with
While one would think of this wine rather at the end of a meal, it works well with foie gras or a smooth chicken or duck liver paté. Well chilled it will certainly give a cup of coffee a go at the end of a meal. Also made for this wine are Nina Timm’s Eclairs with Turkish Delight. The rose of the eclairs echoing the roses in the wine. Click here for her recipe.
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