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The wines of Groot Constantia, Constantia, South Africa

Private Bag X1 Privaatsak, Constantia 7848, RSA
Tel: +27 021 794 5128 Fax: +27 021 794 1999

Groot Constantia is a historic wine estate with some delightful old buildings. Itís beautifully laid out, and the whole place has an air of calm and quiet confidence about it.

Since it was developed by Simon Van der Stel in 1685 the estate has had an unbroken history of wine production. It is currently owned by the Groot Constantia Trust, a not-for-profit organization whose aim is to preserve this historic estate for posterity.

As well as a tasting room there is a museum and two restaurants Ė the cheapest of the two, the tavern, is in the style of an Austrian pub and is ideal if you have kids in tow. The Jonekershuis is more serious and in a lovely setting, but when we visited the food wasnít up to scratch, and the manager was rude. I suspect that these restaurants are franchised operations; I canít help feeling a such a lovely setting deserves better. Prices are given in Rands (when I visited in Feb 2003 14R = 1GPB).

Groot Constantia Chardonnay 2002
All new French oak used here. Nice toasty edge to the ripe nose. The palate shows a good concentration of ripe fruit with a well judged dose of toasty oak. Very good+ (R45)

Groot Constantia Weisser Riesling 2002
Very ripe, rich nose which is peachy with a spicy, almost botrytis-like edge. The palate is rich textured with some spiciness and quite a bit of residual sugar. An unusual style: a tiny bit clumsy but tasty. Very good (R32.50)

Groot Constantia Pinotage Unfiltered 2001
Slightly meaty, cheesy nose. Robust and full with good concentration. Palate is rich with a good concentration of ripe, sweet fruit and an attractive animal-like, meaty edge. Good varietal character. Very good+ (R60)

Groot Constantia Merlot Unfiltered 2001
Quite a serious minerally, earthy nose with a slight leafy edge and some spice. Ripe, concentrated palate with a lovely spicy edge. Lots of character here. Very good/excellent (R60)

Groot Constantia Shiraz 2000
Ripe liquoricey nose shows very sweet fruit with a spicy edge. Very forward. Lush black fruits on the palate with some tarriness. Most definitely new world in style. Very good+ (R60)

Groot Constantia Cabernet Sauvignon Unfiltered 2001
Slightly subdued minerally blackcurrant fruit on the nose. Ripe and full on the palate with a slightly spicy edge to the berry fruit. Very good+ (R63)

Groot Constantia Merlot Shiraz 2000
Appealing minerally nose with a tarry, spicy edge. Very forward. The palate is ripe and rich with nice tarry fruit on the palate. Midweight, balanced and attractive. Very good/excellent (R51)  

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