Wednesday, November 07, 2018

Wade Bales launches Constantia White blend

Beautiful late afternoon light on the vines at Wade Bales’ Cellar in Constantia. Wade is a wine merchant (or, in French, a Negociant). We were there for the launch of a wine commissioned by and made especially for Wade; the first in his pioneering Wade Bales Regional Series: The Constantia White, a blend of 67% Sauvignon Blanc and 33% Semillon - as Wade says, the two hero varietals of the region. This is the outcome of a collaboration combining the talents of seven of Constantia’s top wine farms. Each winemaker selected a component of Sauvignon Blanc and/or Semillon from their best vineyards, tanks and barrels. All seven then participated in the rigorous tasting and blending process, hand crafting the best wine that represents Constantia
We were welcomed with a glass of Constantia bubbly; you could choose which one you preferred
Journalist Mel Minnaar with winemakers Matthew Day of Klein Constantia and Boela Gerber and Louise van der Westhuizen of Groot Constantia. Are they discussing sweet wines of the valley?
Under the tent, you could taste wines from all seven of the Constanta wineries involved
while waiting for the release of the Constantia White
JD Pretorius, cellarmaster at Steenberg, with his selection
The Steenberg white wines, including the wonderful 1999 Semillon
Louise van der Westhuizen, who has recently joined Groot Constantia as assistant winemaker
Winemakers JD Pretorius of Steenberg, Boela Gerber of Groot Constantia, Justin van Wyk of Constantia Glen and Brad Paton of Buitenverwachting. An interesting fact is that all the seven Constantia winemakers involved have been there at least 10 years and some, like Boela and Brad, for longer
Wade Bales introduced the wine and we were all given glasses of it to taste
He told us that The Stellenbosch Red, a Cabernet Sauvignon 2017, will be available after mid 2019
Wade introduced the winemakers from the seven top Constantia wine estates who collaborated to make the wine and donated some of their best barrels of Sauvignon Blanc to go into the wine. They were asked to talk about their contributions. L to R, Gregory Brink Louw of Silvermist, Matthew Day of Klein Constantia, JD Pretorius of Steenberg, Boela Gerber of Groot Constantia, Brad Paton of Buitenverwachting and Justin van Wyk of Constantia Glen (Jacques du Plessis of Constantia Uitsig is not in this photograph)
The wine. A classic, classy Constantia indeed, with green pepper, asparagus and peas and a little perfume on the nose, the wine has minerality and that special semillon mutton fat weight. Crisp and lean with elegance; long flavours of lime and granadilla and some wood notes appear with some grapefruit bitterness on the end. Definitely a food wine. 900 six bottle cases were made and it will sell at R220 a bottle. R10 from every bottle sold will go to support a sustainable solution to Baboon management in the area
Afterwards, there was a very good repast on a table filled with cold meats,
cheeses, dips, bread, chutneys and relishes from the area
Also cold soup; other dishes appeared from the kitchen and there were fresh strawberries,
dates and other fruit
Then we found a table to sit at and eat and try the Constantia White wine with food; it goes very well

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