Sunday, September 30, 2012

Constantia Afternoon

Spent Thursday afternoon hobnobbing around wineries in Constantia. The oldest and of course my personal favourite was a winery called Groot Constantia, located on the Cape Peninsula overlooking False Bay.

Groot Constantia is the oldest wine estate in South Africa and considered a national monument in the suburb of Constantia in Cape Town, South Africa. 'Groot' in Dutch and Afrikaans translates as 'great' in English. The winery itself was established in 1685 by the VOC Governor of the Cape of Good Hope Simon van der Stel, and was used to produce wine as well as other fruit and vegetables and cattle farming.

The vineyards are tucked in the steep valley on the eastern side of Table Mountain. Nine different soil types exist on the farm of Groot Constantia, the majority consist of Table Mountain granite soils. The winery is noted particularly for its high-quality red wines, as a result, red varietals account for approximately 70% of the plantings and include the following: Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Shiraz, Pinotage, Touriga Nacional, Red Muscadel, and Malbec. White varietals make-up the remaining 30% of plantings and consist of Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Semillon, White Muscadel, and Morio Muscat.

The one thing of note about wine tasting in South Africa is that they pour you an actual full size glass of wine!!! Completely different from the average one ounce pours I'm so used to experiencing back at home. They charged us 30 ZAR each for a five glass tasting, about $3.50 CAD. If I lived here I would go there regularly!! Ended up buying 6 bottles and I'm hoping to pack at least 3 of them home with me. The other three are for drinking while in SA. Here were the highlights:

2011 Chardonnay
A full-bodied Chardonnay with flavours of oak, vanilla, citrus, litchis and pears on the nose, with hints of orange peel and cloves. The crisp acidity of this wine ensures long lasting tropical fruit and butterscotch flavours on the palate. This is a well balanced wine with defined complexity.

2010 Shiraz
The wine shows black pepper and black currant on the nose, while time in the glass reveals hints of violets, ripe plums and smokiness. The spiciness and black currant follows through on the palate, leaving a sweet rich taste in your mouth.

2010 Gouverneurs Reserve
The wine has a deep, intense ruby colour. On the nose, one finds many ripe, rich flavours: Black cherries, plums, blackcurrant and hints of chocolate and mint. These rich flavours follow through on the palate with black pepper spices coming through on the after taste. The wine offers good extract on the palate with lots of good structured tannin to ensure good maturation potential.