Constantia and Stellenbosch to the fore again with a white and red winning two trophies apiece in the past six months

Captivating scenery, classy wine, Constantia GlenCONSTANTIA GLEN hasn’t been making wine for a decade yet, but already it’s a destination of note among the Cape’s panoramic farms just below Constantia Nek that offer a bite to eat and a growing reputation for good vino. The first wines, made from Sauvignon Blanc grapes, met with mixed reviews. Over the past four or five years though there’s been increasing consensus about the quality and interest value, particularly as regards the blends, red and white.

This year alone, at R190 a bottle ex-cellar, the 2013 vintage of the Bordeaux-style white labelled ‘Constantia Glen Two’ has won two trophies internationally for winemaker Justin van Wyk and the team: the first at the International Wine Challenge, the second at the Decanter World Wine Awards, both in the UK. The blend: just over 70% Sauvignon Blanc, 29% Semillon. On the nose: nectarine, orange… Papaya, pineapple. On the palate: a rich, textured mouthfeel. Fermented in large, 600-litre barrels for six months. Just 13.5% ABV. Only 5000 bottles. Recommended with, among other delights, lightly seared asparagus and mozarella wrapped in prosciutto.

And one of South Africa’s other superstars of the year to date hails from Stellenbosch, from a property which 10 years ago was wrestling to be considered among the top guns – image wise at least – but which today ranks among the country’s Top 20 red wine producers as well as one of the best overall. Spier 21 Gables Pinotage has picked up where Spier Private Collection Pinotage left off three or four years ago and it’s the 2011 vintage that has cleaned up this year with a trophy at the Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show (SA) and another more recently at the Decanter World Wine Awards in London.
Spier 21 Gables Pinotage 2011 also picked up a gold medal at Concours Mondial (BE), a silver at the International Wine Challenge (UK), and was selling for R158 a bottle at the cellar where the 2012 vintage has been introduced. Hand-harvested and hand-sorted grapes, fermented in tank and open-top oak vats. Matured in new and second-fill French, American and Hungarian barrels for 18 months. “Flavours of caramalised black cherries, hints of dark spice and dark chocolate…” Recommended with most red meat dishes, berry jus and strong cheese.
21 gables? Apparently the historic Spier farm alongside the R310 (Baden Powell Drive) boasts that many different examples of this building design feature that the Dutch made famous back in the day. Wine lovers tripping through Stellenbosch should branch off along the Annandale Road if they wish to get to the modern cellar and tasting room.

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