After a sensational 2015, can Groot Constantia do it again in 2016 ?
THERE WERE a number of South African wineries that excelled in 2015 by way of good reviews, however none were more frequent visitors to the podium than the grande dame Groot Constantia – a property dating back to 1685 but which ranks right up there with the best in the modern era too. Winemaker Boela Gerber is very modest about his team’s achievements in the vineyard and cellar – too modest to comment about the chances of a repeat performance in 2016, although he couldn’t hold back a chuckle at the prospect.
What a great start to the year it was… In March came silverware won at the 2015 Classic Wine Trophy awards in Cape Town for Groot Constantia’s 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon, 2013 Merlot and 2013 Pinotage – the same Pinotage that was to claim a spot in the Absa Top 10 later in the year. Also in March, the estate took first place at Chardonnay du Monde in Burgundy, France, namely with the 2013 Groot Constantia Chardonnay – an achievement that was to be followed by one of the top scores in Winemag.co.za’s Chardonnay Report, this time for the 2014 vintage.
In May, at Syrah du Monde in the Rhône, France, Groot Constantia managed a Top 10 spot with the 2013 vintage, which also made the Top 12 in the 2015 Shiraz SA Challenge. In June, Groot Constantia’s non-vintage Cape Ruby was judged best in its class at the Cape Port Challenge in Calitzdorp. And in September, the estate’s Natural Sweet dessert wine Grand Constance earned a Double Gold medal at the Michelangelo awards – the 2012 vintage going on to be ‘Highly Recommended’ in Platter’s SA Wine Guide, where Groot Constantia’s port and 2013 Shiraz received equally good reviews.
These are just the highlights of Groot Constantia’s many accolades in 2015 – for all of the top ratings by wine tasting panels locally and internationally recently, see here. So consistent has the producer been in terms of top quality over the past 10 years that there are eight Groot Constantia beauties in the 2016 SA Wine Classification – the Chardonnay and Pinotage ranked among the Top 10 in their respective classes – and the winery is among the Top 50 overall as regards the 2016 SA Cellar Classification.
According to the cellarmaster: although the 2013 vintage was exceptional for Groot Constantia, the 2014 is more “elegant” – especially in the case of the reds. And what to look forward to further down the line? Well, for after a meal, perhaps with coffee in place of the Ruby port that is being phased out (sigh!), the first of two potstill brandies will be introduced in a year or so – the second, more prestigious version to follow after ageing for 10 years, at least.
For a corner of the Cape winelands so rich in historical significance, Groot Constantia is a relaxed destination. The tasting rooms and restaurants are casual in nature, and there are very few farms in South Africa where you can take a walk around the vineyards without having to ask permission, let alone fill in a form…
Very popular; plenty of tourists; parking for buses. But classy wines too, appealing to serious wine lovers, to state the obvious!