In my mind, Groot Constantia is the cradle of the wine industry in South Africa. If, as a Capetonian you have not visited there I encourage you so to do, it ia a place of great beauty. It is the Estate which took South African Wine into a large audience in Europe, Kings, Emperors, Prime Ministers and Statesmen all wanted Constantia Wine in their cellars. Mr Cloete who owned Constantia as it was then known was the person who made Constantia Wine the belle of Europe. Napoleon in exile on the Atlantic Ocean Island of St Helena had wine sent to him each month. The mantle of the first owner, former Governor Simon van der Stel, fell upon the shoulders of Mr Cloete and now rests on the shoulders of the award-winning winemaker Boela Gerber. And the Groot Constantia Sauvignon Blanc 2018 is of his making.
The grapes come from south to south east facing vineyards which grow on a mix of Hutton and Glenrosa soils. The vineyards are cooled in the height of summer by Atlantic Ocean breezes over Constantia Mountain and by nocturnal inversion from False Bay. The grapes are hand harvested, destalked and crushed in the cellar and then the juice has some skin contact in the press. Free run juice alone is used to make this sublime Sauvignon Blanc. There is a 7% dollop of Semillon in the wine which adds to the gravitas and reins in the spritely Sauvignon Blanc. Fermented in tank, the wine lies on its lees for four months before being prepared for bottling.
From a Burgundy shaped bottle, closed with a natural cork. The label is classically Groot Constantia, much in the style of the French Chateaux which have an engraving of the Manor House on the farm. In the glass, the wine is a gem bright pale golden straw. The aromas are of ripe summer fruits, melon, elderflower, and sweet tropical limes and windfall oranges. The generous mid palate offers a fynbos herbaceousness and the long and gently waning aftertaste is an interweaving of all of these senses. This wine can only improve over the next couple of years and you will be well rewarded if you cool cellar it.
The Groot Constantia Sauvignon Blanc 2018 should be served well chilled and is the perfect aperitif or mid-morning refresher. Crisp saladings with goat cheese and lots of crunchy bits like seeds, nuts, crisp bacon or pancetta bits and croutons are a perfect partner. A tranche of Sassi Friendly Hake fried in the pan with lemon and parsley – perfect. Or else Ina Paarman’s wonderfully retro Hake in Beer Batter with Tartare Sauce, a great partner. Click HERE for her recipe.
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