From Sauvignon Blanc shy to smitten with the Noble grape that grows on the Klein Constantia wine estate. The vineyard known for the most desired sweet wine from Constantia has taken me fully out of my comfort zone, physically and mentally, whilst sweeping my feet from under me.
It was the first governor of the Cape Simon van der Stel who established the vast property of 960 Morgen (146 hectares is what the property is today) in 1685. It was the decomposed granite soils on the slopes that had the valley stand out and be selected. As those cool sea breezes have blown through the valley there has been a huge set of historical events that have blown the property too. Events that brought the farm into the hands of Duggie Jooste in 1980.
These years and their decision-making has been so important for the future of the farm that it has become undeniably a landmark to be reckoned with. In 1986 wines were produced by Ross Gower in the just-completed cellar and intense labor and decision making of a team that was advised by Ernst le Roux, Professor Chris Orfer from the Stellenbosch University, Ronnie Melck MD of Stellenbosch Farmers Winery, architect Gawie Fagan and others.
With the Sauvignon Blanc being judged the Champion White wine in 1986, at the Stellenbosch Young wine Wine Show, and the SA Champion Wine Show a few weeks later, the wine surely set a new benchmark and has to this day evolved to the beautiful wines that can steal your heart.
Now to many, my friends, family guest I have shared countless bottles of wine with at the very prestigious hotels where I managed the wine portfolios, Such as the Belmond Mount Nelson, Taj Hotel Cape Town, and the One & Only Cape Town under the auspicious guidance of the Resort manager Roberto Garonne. They all know that I never had a close relationship with Sauvignon Blanc, however, all this has changed immensely.
At the exit of this February, the month of love, I experienced an elevated relationship with this Noble varietal. It was the idea of Jaqueline Harris, Marketing Manager of this beautiful Estate, who took me out into the vineyard and shared Sauvignon Blanc differently with me. Instead of shoving a glass of wine in my hand, she spent some time telling me historical stories that very
few share about the farm and then took me right up to an altitude of higher than 350 meters. Fortunately, I survived to share my experience.
The first stop was at the Biodynamic Block, which grows less than 2-3 meters away from the Organic Block but the difference in the taste of the grapes straight from the vine was immense, they were harvested around 23+ balling. The Biodynamic block showcasing balanced ripe fruit and the Organic block showing a stunning, refreshing acidity. As we progressed higher up, we went through the Phillies blocks where the Metis Sauvignon Blanc grapes grow. The style of this wine was inspired by Pascal Jolivet and his holistic approach to winemaking. We did not stop there, further up we got to the block called PerdeBlokke, this name referred to the horses that tilled the soils of the steep slopes that lie about 200-220 meters above sea level (and that people is how high you go when building a relationship).
Jaqueline who walks in the vineyard daily, patiently walked me down after harvesting a few crates for samples, a process is done to ensure that the grapes are at optimal balling for harvesting. We went down to the cellar and we crushed these grapes by hand and Juanita Lategan one of Matt's (wine-maker) interns for harvest 2021 assisted us with the sampling, it was unfortunate that none of the crates we harvested showed that those blocks were ready for harvesting. The grape juice was delightful though.
Behind each Lable of Sauvignon Blanc at Klein Constantia lies diversity
After all this hard work we tasted through a range of Sauvignon Blancs. What got me most excited is that this tasting took me right back to a lecture that was hosted in the early years of my career at the Cape Wine Academy by Monty Friendship, he gave us merlot (about four bottles) harvested from the same vineyard, different block at different stages. Tasting the Sauvignon Blanc in its different narrative confirmed to me once again that every bottle brought forth by the wine-makers is indeed Mother Natures' best.
Starting with the Klein Constantia Metis, Inspired by Pascal Jolivet and his holistic approach to wine-making in Sancerre. This wine has a beautiful light and vibrant appearance and at that first nose, I collected hints of citrus and herbaceous aromas. I personally enjoyed the full body and peppery hints of the wine, flinty acidity brought the wine to a fresh finish.
I felt very deserving of the following wine I tasted, Perdeblokke a name referring to the horses that tilled the soil of the steep slopes that lies between 200-220 meters above sea level on the Constantiaberg mountain (all I say is I been up there by foot people, I have never felt this worthy). This Sauvignon Blanc has enticing notes of pear drop and quince with a stunning floral nuance. The palate remains fresh with citrus and crisp apple on the finish.
Klein Constantia Clara showcases intricate spice and the distinctive aromas of ripe kiwi fruit. The palate is full-bodied and expressive of zesty acidity, creamy palate brings equilibrium to this wine that was named after Clara Elise Hussey an American heiress from Pittsburg who purchased Klein Constantia in 1913.
The Klein Constantia Estate Sauvignon Blanc was so nice I tasted it twice (yes I know I can be
corny but the wine was not), 2019 tasted by the side of a 2015 Sauvignon Blanc. Whilst the 2015 SB boasted vegetal aromas such as white asparagus and white peaches, it also had these lovely notes of baked pear, the 2019 SB showed off its youthfulness, with fresh pear and citrus aromas, The 2019 plate was rich in texture with bold minerality. I personally love the 2015 SB but go get taste them alongside and let your palate find your favorite.
Now the next wine produced by Klein Constantia got me totally in my feelings. Glendirk forms the northern portion of the original Constantia grant to Simon van der Stel in 1685. Located on the south slopes of Table mountain and graced by a cool and gentle maritime climate, the conditions are near perfect for premium grape growing. In a partnership with Klein Constantia, the finest Sauvignon Blanc grapes from low-yielding mature vines have been selected to produce this exceptional wine. Glendirk Sauvignon Blanc 2018, is like the guy my mom warned about. Well dressed (the right packaging), (ambassador of his family) showcases beautiful fruit, sweet citrus on the nose, crisp apple, a hint of pear, and sweet melon on the palate. The wine boasts a flinty minerality and leads into a spicy finish, the wine-maker suggest cellaring till 2022 but I doubt many would be able after trying the first bottle
firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: +27 (0)21 794 5188. Klein Constantia Estate, PO Box 375, Constantia, 7848. GPS COORDINATES, 34°2’19.0″S 18°24’46.5″E. CELLAR OPENING HOURS Monday to Friday 10h00 – 17h00, Saturdays 10h00 – 17h00, Sundays & Public Holidays 10h00 – 16h00, Please note, wine tastings end 30 minutes before closing. Our tasting room will be closed on Christmas Day and Good Friday respectively.
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