Groot Constantia is South Africa’s oldest estate and one of South Africa’s most visited tourist attractions. In 1685 Cape Governor Simon van der Stel built a farm in the foothills of Table Mountain, which he named Constantia. Groot Constantia received world acclaim from Napoleon, Bismarck and King Louis Philippe of France who was the biggest single buyer of Groot Constantia wines. They had to sell to the Cape government after phylloxera ravaged the vineyards. Now, the total estate covers 165 hectares of which 87 hectares are planted, at an altitude of 60 to 280 metres above sea level. The climate is generally cool resulting in complex and balanced wines.
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 veraison 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 Muscat grapes are grown in a vineyard block right next to the famous Manor House, which is situated at 80 to 90 metres above sea level. The low yielding vines are planted on a south east facing slope. 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 vines are grown in Cartref, Longlands and Kroonstad soils.
Patience is a virtue when producing a wine with nectar so sweet. The semi-sun dried Muscat d’Frontignan bunches were harvested at the beginning to middle of April, after a long ripening period to ensure that the sweet berries had adequate sunlight to produce the golden juice. The grapes were fermented with selected yeasts on the skins for approximately one week and then pressed. After fermentation the wines were racked and transferred into barrels to mature for 24 months. This cuvee is made from predominantly white Muscat with a small percentage of red Muscat, which imparts the distinctive amber colour.
White Muscat is complemented by with a small percentage of red Muscat, giving a beautiful amber colour. This legendary sweet wine delivers opulent aromas of caramel, toffee and notes of dried fruit. The caramel and dried fruit follow through onto the palate which is beautifully balanced by a natural acidity leaving a very moreish finish.
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