The Constantia Valley Cape Town – a little piece of paradise

The Constantia Valley Cape Town – a little piece of paradise

For wino’s and foodies in the know – this has always been a little piece of paradise.  There were numerous reasons to visit:

  • It is renowned as one of the best regions for sauvignon blanc in the country due to the cool sea breezes it gets from False Bay.  All the more reason for you to hotfoot it down to Steenberg, Klein Constantia and Buitenverwachting wine estate
  • It is one of our oldest wine regions and for anyone into history – it is well worth a visit to the old Cape Dutch Manor homestead at Groot Constantia (very cool to combine this with breakfast under the oaks at Jonkershuis on the estate)
  • It is a foodie haven – you should not leave Cape Town without dining at La Colombe (one of the best fine dining establishments in the Cape), Constantia Uitsig (also fine dining and sheer bliss sitting outside there on a beautiful day), The River Cafe – for lighter gourmet little lunches – this is where the locals dine.  Oddly enough all three are on the same wine estate – Constantia Uitsig
  • Lastly – this little wine region is only 15 minutes from Cape Town city in off peak traffic.

Yesterday I went to investigate three of the smaller wine estates in the Constantia Valley.  Access to these guys has been limited until now as they did not have tasting facilities.  All three have now opened access to their estates.  This is great news for wino’s and also for us locals! It means we now have enough wine farms to spend an entire day in this little region – with a great excuse to do a gourmet lunch in the middle.  The thought makes me happy!

I started yesterday at High Constantia www.highconstantia.co.za

This estate is easy to find – it is on the road leading into Groot Constantia and is a simple little sign and gate on the right hand side of this road.  We did a tasting with Sannelie who has been in the wine industry for 20 years.  The estate is owned by David van Niekerk and this man is truly talented at making champagne.  In South Africa we cannot refer to it as champers – as such we have come with the name Methode Cap Classique (MCC).  This is quite a mouthful – however – we need something to distinguish between the stuff that simply has a hose pipe and adds bubbles to the wine!   The tasting room is small and looks over the garden and we very diligently worked our way through the wine collection.  The MCC was outstanding, this was followed by the sauvignon blanc 2009 which I found to be a little flat – surprising in a valley where the sauvignon blanc is one of its most outstanding features.   I thoroughly enjoyed the viognier.  This was followed by a journey though various single variety reds – in this the cab frank stood out as clearly the most delicious.  The flagship red blend was served last and it is fantastic!  The Sebastian is a blend of 45% cab frank, 45% cab sav, with the remainder being merlot, petit verdot and malbec.  It is a complex blend and is fantastic.  At R212 it is a bit pricey – but if I could afford it I would have stocked up with a large amount of it, plus a few cases of the champers!  Instead I left with a bottle of the MCC for new years eve.  Note that David from High Constantia is also making Terra Madre on behalf of some friends of mine.  This is an apple champagne made the same way that you would make it from wine.  It is unlikely that you will be able to taste it – however I would strongly suggest asking if they will sell you a bottle as it is delicious and a fantastic drink for a hot summers day.

Next we moved onto Eagles Nest.  There new tasting room was supposed to open last week – however due to the unexpected rain all of the terracotta tiles got wet and they are waiting for them to dry before opening.  We were warmly welcomed to Eagle’s nest by Kaylee, the daughter of the owner.  Kaylee has just finished her degree at Stellenbosch university and is ready to get started in the family business.  As such you may find her in the tasting room on weekends during the year as she has now enrolled in a marketing course for next year to get ready to start in the business.  She is wonderfully warm and bubbly and did a great job in making me fall in love with the estate and the wines there.  The reason to do the visit to the estate is to taste the Shiraz – it is one of the nicest I have ever tasted – spicy, smooth and delicious.  They also do a great red blend and a very good merlot………….so our little valley is now starting to do exceptional reds!!

I forgot to mention to get to Eagles Nest and Constantia Glen, you need to head up the mountain in the direction of Hout Bay,  about 100m before the traffic circle at the top of the mountain you will see the entrance to both estates on your left.

Constantia Glen is directly next door to Eagles Nest.  This tasting room is magnificent – it is located high on the mountain and boasts the best views out of the three.  It is a lovely little house with a terrace and you can sit outside.

They are also renowned for their reds.  Sadly yesterday I was wined out by the time we got there – so I abstained from a full tasting.  I would highly recommend a visit to them on a day out in Constantia.

Yesterday I finally saw the need for a wine guide for tours – yikes it is hard to do much when you hate spitting out delicious wines!

So, if you need a designated driver for a wine tour when you are in Cape Town – get in touch – the world of wine and food are my passion!

Ps note that it has been an excellent year for Klein Constantia who was recently awarded 3 five star accolades in the John Platter wine awards.  Check out the list of awards recently achieved.

The full list of this year’s accolades is below:

Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show:
Gold and Trophy for the best Riesling on show- 2009 Klein Constantia Riesling.

Veritas Awards:
Gold Medal for the 2008 Klein Constantia Marlbrook

South African National Terroir Awards:
National Winner, best Cabernet Sauvignon- 2008 Klein Constantia Cab’ Sauvignon;
National Winner, best Natural Sweet Wine- 2006 Vin de Constance.

International Wine Challenge:
Gold Medal for the 2005 Vin de Constance

The Wine Spectator
94 Points- 2005 Vin de Constance

The 2011 Edition of the Platter Guide (www.wineonaplatter.com)
5 Stars: 2006 Vin de Constance, 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon, 2009 Perdeblokke Sauvignon blanc
4,5 Stars: 2010 Sauvignon blanc, 2008 Marlbrook

Our website: www.kleinconstantia.com

Our Blog: www.kleinconstantiawines.com