Groot Constantia Merlot 2015, good with Tracy Foulkes’s Easy Midweek Dinner Risotto – 01.12.2017

Groot Constantia Merlot 2015

I always think of Groot Constantia as the cradle of the South African Wine Industry.  Wine having been made there on the Estate for some 300 years. Mr Cloete, whose ancestor arrived with Jan van Riebeek in 1652 as assistant gardener, took Groot Constantia to great heights with heads of government, kings, writers all over Europe having the wine in their cellars.  It was a golden era for South African Wine. Groot Constantia Merlot 2015 is as fine a wine to showcase the estate’s capabilities as a producer of fine wine.

Boela Gerber, Groot Constantia’s multi award winning winemaker

Boela Gerber, Groot Constantia’s multi award winning winemaker, and his assistant Rudolph Steenkamp receive the finest grapes from Flo Beukes.  Flo is the estate’s viticulturist and Boela told me that he got to know the vineyards very quickly after his arrival in some years ago, through careful management he has upgraded the vineyards and this elevation is certainly shown in the recent wines.

Merlot, the little blackbird, ripening on the vine

The Merlot grapes for the Groot Constantia Merlot 2015 come mostly from a block on south to south east facing slopes.  Picked early and fermented in stainless steel tanks with pump overs every four hours in the early part of the fermentation. Maturation took place over 13 months in French oak barrels.  The mix of the 225 litre barrels was 51% new, 26% second fill and 23% third fill barrels. The wine was then prepared for bottling.

It looks like
Bottled under a natural cork closure in the elegant Bordeaux bottle with the Constantia logo embossed just below the neck indicating the use of Constantia Wine Appellation grapes. In the glass, a dark ruby plum at the core which pales out to a dark garnet at the edges.

It smells like
Warm wafts of cherries and black berries, cinnamon spice and crushed tomato leaves.

It tastes like
A generosity of red and black fruit, plums and sweet brown spices.  The bright fruit starts at entry fills the palate and ends with the cashmere tannins, acidity and oak, all beautifully plaited together in a long and very satisfying ending.

Tracy Foulkes’s Easy Midweek Dinner Risotto

It’s good with
An excellent glass on its own, Merlot is one of the most popular glass wines. A wine for fine food, it is as happy with a well-cooked burger as it is with fine Sunday Lunch Roast. Tracy Foulkes’s Easy Midweek Dinner Risotto is such a lovely dish to pair with the Groot Constantia Merlot 2015. Click here for her recipe.

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