Groot Constantia Merlot 2018

I always regard Groot Constantia as the Cradle of the South African Wine Industry. The farm is situated in the Constantia Wine Appellation with spectacular views down to False Bay and the backing of the Constantia Mountains.

Boela taking samples in the vineyard

Boela Gerber is the winemaker and ‘Flo’ Beukes, Vineyardist, his fellow in the vineyards who has, in his time there, mastered the Groot Constantia Vineyards and he and his team provide the finest of grapes to Boela.

Merlot is one of the most popular red wines and served in glass or carafe in many restaurants, for the reason that it is such an accessible and satisfying wine. The vineyard soils are of decomposed granite, the vines trellised and vineyard actions like pruning, canopy management and harvesting are done by hand. Pest control is done biologically, and soil health and weed control are managed by a selected mix of winter cover crop.

Merlot is an old French name for a blackbird

Once in the cellar, the grapes were fermented in stainless steel tanks with regular pump overs. Once fermented, the wine was left on the skins for two weeks to maximise extraction. Malolactic fermentation took place in the tank. The wine was matured in 60% new, 20% 2nd and 20% 3rd fill 225 litre French oak barrels for 15 months before blending and being prepared for bottling.

Boela in the Barrel Cellar

From a Bordeaux shaped bottle, closed with natural cork. The label is elegant in the style of a French Chateau label with an etching of the Manor House on it.  In the glass, the wine is a dark bloodplum at the heart which pales out to ruby at the edges. The aromas are much as expected from a fine Merlot, Morello cherries and ripe prune plums with an undertow of cherry tobacco and cedarwood from the barrels. The palate is rich and full and generous with a ripe fruit in excess, a lovely acidity line and tannins silken smooth. A perfect harmonious long and gently waning aftertaste. An impressive glass, which will only improve with a couple of years of cool cellaring.

Dianne Bibby’s Roast Aubergines with Miso & Pomelo

The Groot Constantia Merlot 2018 is so deliciously soft, it is an excellent sipping wine. Especially as an after dinner wine taken with shards of dark chocolate. It is a great food partner. Chill the wine slightly. Dianne Bibby’s Roast Aubergines with Miso & Pomelo is a perfect Summer lunch dish. Click here for her recipe.

Dianne Bibby of Bibby’s Kitchen
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