Hi! I’m intruding here on Carol and Talitta’s wine column because I need to tell my wonderful enocultural experience that I had this week. I am spending some time in South Africa and in these last few weeks of travel I came to Cape Town, one of the most famous tourist destinations in the world. This city is wonderful. The funny shape of the trees, which are tilted because of the wind blowing from the mountains, the beautiful composition that ancient and contemporary architecture forms throughout the city, Table Mountain, Lion’s Head and Devil’s Peak, breathtaking mountains that skirt the city, the famous Waterfront port … And the wines. Ah, the wines. I could spend a lot of time writing about every aspect of Cape Town, but I will just talk about visiting a very special place.
The Groot Constantia winery is the oldest in South Africa. The wines produced there win numerous awards every year (also, imagine a place that has been producing wines for over 300 years – yes, the winery was founded in 1685! The guys know what they are doing), and are sold in many countries around the world. And, of course, after all this time there is a lot of history to be told. Those interested in knowing more about the past, from the cultivation of grapes by slaves to the automobiles used at the time, can visit the Constantia museum, inside the winery itself. I just stopped by the museum because what I really wanted was wine. Just kidding! The cool thing is that they made a timeline from the beginning of the beginning, when Sir Simon van der Stel, governor of the province of Cape (now Cape Town), acquired the land and named it Groot Constantia.
To make a long story short, shortly after the wines began to be produced all over Europe, he kept an eye on the winery and, bad languages say, Napoleon Bonaparte bought 30 bottles a month to enjoy his exile on the island of Saint Helena, a nearby British colony from Africa. Well, not to mention the other kings and famous people (Charles Dickens wrote about Constantia) who were a fan of the wines there.
The tasting cost R $ 10 (you tell me if it’s cheap or not… hahaha) and I was able to taste five of the famous Constantia. I started with Sauvignon Blanc (2013) and it was a good surprise. The first contact gives an acidic taste on the tongue, which gradually perceives the flavor of passion fruit and kiwi combined with a touch of herbs, which remain on the palate. As the description of this wine says, what we feel is a fresh acidity.
The second was the Chardonnay (2013), too much love. Ó the description: “When you smell this wine, you can smell the lemon, notes of ripe summer fruits and butter with the subtle touch of oak. It has rich flavors, showing more creaminess and oak on the palate, while the acidity keeps the palate fresh and clean. ” Um… Ok. I didn’t taste the ripe summer fruits much less butter, but a touch of lemon was present. I love Chardonnay. I loved this one.
Moving on to the reds, now. The grape Shiraz it is quite popular here in South Africa and its wines are very smooth, from what I tried. The Groot Constantia of this grape (2011) is very aromatic and, according to the description, “a mixture of red currant, violets and black pepper”. The second red was Pinotage (2012) and people, what is this? This wine is an explosion of aromas, without being aggressive. On the contrary! It feels like velvet in my mouth … I felt myself floating to the sound of Wolf Larsen in a soft, warm cloud. The notes are red fruits, licorice, cinnamon and spices.
I confess that the last one on the tasting list, the Gouverneurs Reserve (2011), was not the star of the party. But I may be being very unfair since the cheeks started to heat up and I was at a point where everything seemed beautiful and sincere … hehehe More intense, this wine is a mixture of Cabernet Franc (54%), Merlot (36%) and Cabernet Sauvignon (10%), aged in French oak barrels. The notes are of ripe blackberries and cherries and the Gouverneurs Reserve evolves in the bowl, releasing even more aromas.
I really like dessert wines, which contain a bit of liquor in their composition (click here to read a post just about them), so I asked if I could have a look at their bottle. The presentation of the Grand Constance (2011) it doesn’t disappoint: the 375ml bottle, more robust, with a simple label and classic calligraphy, is a reinterpretation of bottles found in a castle in Belgium in 1760-1840 (!) and is surrounded by a beautiful wooden box. In other words, total chic. The Grand Constance is not on the tasting list, but after sipping on the wines above (hehe), I did not hesitate to ask if I could give just a little shy little to meet. And guess what? Drank!
Now the conversation will be serious: this was the best dessert wine I have ever had in my life. I may be being radical, but I dare say it was one of the best WINES I have ever had (and look, here in South Africa I tried móintosss hahaha. The wines are cheap so why not, right?). As soon as this nectar of the gods came in contact with my taste buds, the feeling was that I was being carried by fairies and elves towards a magical and uninhabited land for us, lowly mortals. I felt like the nuances of pineapple, raisins, apricot and honey were dancing in my mouth. And, look, I’ll be even more daring: I swear I felt a delicious taste of jasmine. I’ll even stop here in the descriptions or it will look like I’m lying. According to the label, this wine (ahhh, is it worth saying that it was Napoleon’s favorite?) Has a very incredible maturation potential, but it can be enjoyed when young. In other words: if you keep it for decades it will be even more perfect than it is now, brand new.
Let’s talk about prices? In our currency, the Real, all up there do not exceed the range of R $ 60, and the most expensive – Gouverneurs Reserve, costs R $ 95. The last, Grand Constance, costs R423, which gives R $ 141. I was sad, thinking that this amount was a little too expensive (you know, innocent) until Carol told me that the same wine costs, in Brazil, a trifle of R $ 500. Five hundred reais. I think the post could end here with this reflection on the absurd rates of imported products, right? Bye kiss.
PS: If you have the chance to go to Cape Town, make the most of your visit to Groot Constantia. It will be unforgettable. Too bad it’s winter and so there is no picture of the vines: /
PS2: I think I will take a suitcase full of wines on the way back …