Groot Constantia Sauvignon Blanc 2016 & Alida Ryder’s Caprese Panzanella Salad – 08.02.2017

Groot Constantia Sauvignon Blanc 2016

I believe that the east facing slopes of the Constantia Mountains are just perfect for the production of Sauvignon Blanc.  The weather conditions are so ideal.  Cooling diurnal breezes tumbling down the mountain late in the afternoon ameliorate the heat in the summer vineyards and allow the grapes to take longer to ripen, thus building up more colour and flavour.  In the evening, nocturnal breezes off False Bay do the same.  Often in the late afternoon I have stood by the ringmuur of the Manor House and looked down to the Bay and wondered what it must have been like in the 17th century when there was no urban development, just tall yellowwood trees and indigenous fauna, not even an oak.

Boela Gerber in the Groot Constantia Vineyards

I remember the wine shortage in the 1970s when people used to drive up to Groot Constantia on Wednesday and Saturday to buy eked out quantities of the estate’s wine. Nothing has changed and everything has.  Groot Constantia is a major contender in the wine industry and one of the most visited places in the Cape amongst the greats like Table Mountain, Cape Point and the National Botanical Gardens at Kirstenbosch. And with reason – Boela Gerber and the vineyard and cellar teams are producing truly sublime whites, red, white, rose, MCC and a traditional wine from Groot Constantia Grand Constance.

Sauvignon Blanc Grapes ripening on the vine

Today the Groot Constantia Sauvignon Blanc 2016 is my star wine of the day. The grapes come from various blocks, planted on Glenrosa and Hutton soils and mainly south to south east facing. They produce an even handed 6 tons per hectare.  After hand harvesting at dawn the grapes are destemmed and crushed and then cool settled, as only free run juice is used. Made with minimal intervention the wine remains on the lees for four months before being prepared for bottling.

It looks like
Bottled under cork in the Constantia embossed Burgundy shaped bottle. In the glass a gen bright lemony straw colour with lime green flashes.

It smells like
Aromatic citrus blossom and a generosity of tropical fruits, the roundness of melon, the soft acidity of granadilla. Touch of fynbos herbaceousness coming through.

It tastes like
Aromas repeat on the palate, full mouthful of rich, creamy, crisp dry wine. Utterly delicious long gently waning aftertaste.

Alida Ryder’s Caprese Panzanella Salad

It’s good with
This is the perfect mid-morning refresher, the perfect aperitif and the perfect food wine. Perfect with summery salads. Alida Ryder’s Caprese Panzanella Salad is a great lunchtime partner.  Combining the three ingredients for Insalata Caprese, Tomato, Mozzarella and Sweet Basil and adding to them another Italian salad tradition – bread. Click here for her recipe.

Alida Ryder

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