My choice for me Top Drop today comes from what I always think of as the cradle of the South African Wine Industry. If, as a Capetonian, you have not visited this historic and beautifully maintained Estate, please put it on your bucket list for after lockdown. If you are on holiday in the Cape, a visit to Groot Constantia is a must. Boela Gerber, the much-awarded Wine Maker of the Estate and Flo Beukes, the Vineyardist are a formidable team. The vineyards are in tip top condition as Flo has grown to know them in the recent years that he has been there. Boela, and his Cellar Team, simply continue to produce the finest wines, all great examples of their variety or style.
The microclimate of Groot Constantia is much affected by the cooling breezes off the cool Benguela Current which runs up our west coast from the cold deep South Atlantic Ocean. The vineyard blocks, planted on Glenrosa soils, from which these grapes come, face south and south east. Once hand harvested, the grapes are taken to the cellar where they are destemmed and crushed and taken to stainless steel tanks for fermentation. During the first half of fermentation, the fermenting wine is pump over the skins which rise to the top. Gentle extraction of colour, flavour and tannin and light oxygenation take place. Once fermented dry, the wine matured for 18 months in 225 litre barrels of which 61% new French oak 10% 2nd and 29% 3rd fill barrels. The wine was then prepared for bottling.
From a Bordeaux shaped bottle, closed with natural cork. The bottle has the word Constantia embossed in glass just under the neck. The label is classical and has an etching of the well-known Manor House. In the glass, the wine is an opaque bloodplum at the heart which pales out to a purple tinged ruby at the edges. The aromas are rich with plums, cherry tobacco and sweet spice. The palate is full, round rich and generous. The fabulous fruit elegantly supported by the oak and its concomitant spice and vanilla. Given a year or two of cool cellaring, the Groot Constantia Merlot 2017 will reward you amply.
The Groot Constantia Merlot 2017 is no quaffer. It is made for gentle and serious sipping, perhaps after a meal putting world affairs to right by the dying embers of a fire, with a bar of snappy black chocolate. With food, it shines. A tranche of braaied steak with a red wine and mushroom sauce, a dish of Cape Malay Curried Mince with dirty rice. Alida Ryder’s Red Wine & Mushroom Sauce is a great companion for fillet and this wine. Click HERE for her recipe.
Read more about Groot Constantia Wine Estate – CLICK HERE