Monday, September 19, 2016

A Historical “Home Coming” at Groot Constantia

Groot Constantia brings home an 1821 bottle of its famed Grand Constance
Groot Constantia was recently the successful bidder in an overseas auction for a 195 year old bottle of Grand Constance 1821, a wine that was produced in the Groot Constantia Cloete Cellar. They were so delighted at acquiring the wine and returning it to its origin that they invited a group of us to celebrate its return last week. They also promised a surprise event during the day
The Groot Constantia Manor House, one of our iconic National Monuments and celebrated as South Africa's oldest wine producing farm, founded in 1685
The welcome drink was a glass of their NV Brut Rosé, a light salmon pink, floral with flavours of brioche, apple and nuts
Canapés were served. Paté topped with chutney
Small tomato tarts
Blue cheese topped with apple crumble
Very good samoosas with a very thin, crisp pastry skin, served warm
Information about the Grand Constance wine. The event was held in the old Cloete Cellar behind the manor house, which is currently undergoing renovation. Half of the cellar will house a museum, whilst the other half will be an additional tasting room where visitors can have a unique heritage experience of the Groot Constantia wines
“With such a notable and celebrated history to this centuries old South African brand, we are suitably excited to have this nearly two centuries old Grand Constance bottle returning to its ‘birthplace’”, said Dr Ernest Messina, Chairperson of the Groot Constantia Trust
Dr Messina and Groot Constantia's Marketing manager, Grant Newton opening the parcel in which the 1821 Grand Constance bottle was delivered
The bottle is revealed
It does still contain wine
Not much of the label is left, but enough to identify it.
Everyone wanted a picture
Then came the special event which was inspired by the delivery of the 1821 wine
This niche in the wall of the Cloete Cellar will become a time capsule. Prominent members of the farm and people connected to it were each asked to place one of 12 bottles of Grand Constance 2009 into the niche. The Estate will brick it up. This time capsule will only be opened on 2 February 2109 when the South African wine industry will be celebrating 450 years of existence. The stored wine will then be 100 years old.
Beautiful clivias blooming in abundance on the farm
Time for lunch in Jonkershuis restaurant
Lunch was served family style, so you could help yourself. The starter was a different coloured beetroot salad served with ashed goats cheese and assorted salad leaves
and a good tender beef Carpaccio with burnt pineapple and a crème fraiche. Both were delicious
Guests sat in the open courtyard
The menu for lunch
Bottles of the current vintage of Grand Constance 2013 with a vase of King Proteas (Protea cynaroides). It sells for R516 a bottle on the farm
We drank the Sauvignon Blanc / Semillon 2015, very refreshing, nicely crisp
Serious discussion! Wine journalists Christian Eedes and Sandile Mkhwanazi
Other Groot Constantia white wines on offer
and the Merlot went very well with the Carpaccio and the main course
Also on offer the award winning flagship, Gouverneur's Reserve 2013
A huge helping of perfectly cooked seared Kudu Loin served with spring vegetables, apricots and a Grand Constance reduction. Lynne had to take a doggie bag home
The fish option
The dessert of a Bruléed lemon tart with its mascarpone mousse and a honey and rosewater syrup really impressed. The pastry was light and crisp, the lemon curd an exact balance of sweet and sharp. And with a glass of the Grand Constance to top it off, we were in heaven. It is a perfect balance too of honey sweetness and good grape acidity, filled with apricots, nuts and light caramel, with whiffs of rose petals from the Muscat
© John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus 2016

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