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Producer: Groot ConstantiaGrape Varieties: 100% ShirazOptimum Drinking: Within 6 yearsWine Style: Elegant spice, slight sweetness and herbsAlcohol by Volume: 14%Closure: Natural CorkCountry: South Africa
The heritage of Groot Constantia would be incomplete without regarding its setting. As important as the product of the grape is the beauty and significance of the architecture. The priceless Manor House and the buildings grouped around it are unequalled examples of Cape Dutch architecture both in majesty and simplicity. The collection of artefacts, including furniture and pieces of art, reflects the rich cultural tradition of the Cape. Today the estate is owned by the Groot Constantia Trust which is committed to building upon the foundations of this South Africa's oldest and best known estate. It is one of South Africa's most visited tourist attractions. The story of Groot Constantia goes back to 1685 when Simon van der Stel, later governor of the Cape, was granted land for a farm on the Eastern side of Table Mountain which he named Constantia. After several changes of ownership, it was sold to the Cloete family in 1778 and held by them for 5 generations until 1885. They were forced to sell owing to the vine disease phylloxera that ravaged the vineyards and it then became the property of the Cape government. Their winemaker, Boela Gerber, was recently awarded the Trophy for ‘Diners Club Young Winemaker of the Year'.
A dry autumn and winter set the scene with enough cold weather during July, which was crucial for budding. Budding was early, but even; as was flowering and fruit set. Good signs for the véraison and even ripening that followed. Persistent south easterly winds, especially during December and January, were marked during the 2016 vintage. The winds and warm, dry conditions resulted in healthy fruit with reduced disease pressure and one of the earliest harvests in decades. Ripe, concentrated good quality fruit has translated into excellent wines.
The vineyards are tucked in the steep valley on the eastern side of Table Mountain. The climate is Mediterranean with cooling breezes from the Atlantic Ocean encouraging balance and complexity in the grapes. The average rainfall is approximately 1,100mm per annum. The soils are predominantly Clovelly and Glenrosa- a gravelly soil with low fertility. The climate, combined with the cool southern slopes and deep mountain soils provide the ideal setting for the making of these top quality wines.
The grapes were handed picked at 25°C Balling and fermented in open tanks. A post-fermentation maceration lasted for approximately four weeks. The wines were then matured for 14 months in 24% new French oak, 42% in second passage, 30% in third passage and 4% in fourth passage oak, which added complexity to the resulting wine.
The warm ripening conditions of the 2016 bring out the riper side of this grape variety. Savoury notes are supported by liquorice and black pepper, as well as ripe plums and a hint of smoke. The wine shows beautiful intensity on the palate. The natural acidity adds freshness to the wine, and tannins are soft and approachable.
This wine has the intensity to match rich flavours and accompanies lamb, pan-fried steak, creamy and meat pasta dishes, along with mature cheeses.
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