By Justin Hawthorne
The soaking-wet gravel crunched under foot as we walked along the oak lined avenue towards Jonkershuis Restaurant. It was mid-afternoon on this typical autumn day and the rain had been falling gently for the past two hours. There was a definite icy chill in the air which ensured we moved hurriedly to get indoors. Welcomed by the sound of wood crackling in the fireplace, our little table was nestled cosily in the historic building. We were at Jonkershuis Restaurant for a reason: to pair the silky smooth Grand Constance with the eatery’s decadent desserts.
Grand Constance is one of those wines that oozes intrigue. From the moment you lay eyes on the uniquely shaped bottle you know there’s some sort of magic liquid sealed up beneath the cork and wax seal. The bottle replicates the old era at the estate when Grand Constance was world famous and the wine of choice for the likes of Napoleon, Louis Phillipe (King of the French) and Frederick the Great. The adorned bottle has a long slender neck and broad base with imperfections creating a wonderfully old feel. The stamp “Constantia Wyn” adds a further touch of old character.
The grapes are grown right in front of the Manor House in two distinct blocks. If you peer over the low white wall running parallel to the oak lined avenue you’re looking at the correct vines. The Muscat de Frontignan grapes are left on the vine until late in the harvest season to get as much sun as possible, delivering a natural sweet of rich amber colour. This beautiful colour is achieved by using both white along with red Muscat grapes and it delivers rose petal and Turkish delight aromas, together with honey, caramel and apricot on the nose. The floral and fruit character of the rich natural sweet on the palate is balanced wonderfully with its crisp acidity. This natural sweet delivers on reputation and best served chilled at 12-14°C as a 50ml portion – for optimal enjoyment.
Our trio of chocolate treats accompanied a glass of Grand Constance superbly. The warm dark chocolate fondant melts in your mouth with an intense explosion of rich chocolate flavours. The white chocolate Panna Cotta with fresh strawberry and almonds complimented the natural sweet Grand Constance excellently. Rounding off the trio was the lavender biscuit topped with dark chocolate ice cream, another winner. This trio is usually available at functions and with set menu offerings – reason enough to host a dinner party here!
Desserts on the current Jonkershuis menu include an oven-baked cheesecake, a traditional malva pudding and cinnamon milk tart as well as a decadent chocolate nemesis cake which is gluten free. They also have regular special dishes popping up on their dessert listing, and I can imagine this winter there will be a number which really leave the taste buds satisfied! Whether you’re ending lunch or dinner with something sweet or simply stopping in for afternoon treats, try a glass of Grand Constance to compliment all the flavours.
Apart from pairing with desserts, Grand Constance works exceptionally well with an artisanal fromage board which is of course cheese dominated along with relishes and fresh baguette. From the warm and friendly staff to the classic Cape cuisine, a visit to Jonkershuis Restaurant makes for a memorable Constantia experience.
Boela Gerber, winemaker at Groot Constantia, has worked exceptionally hard to try recreate the pre-19th century Grand Constance and the success of this undertaking is reflected both with each vintage and the numerous awards the wine continues to rack up.
The oak trees and vineyards are starting to lose their leaves as the season change from summer to winter becomes evident. The vineyards have a yellow glow about them and soon they’ll become ever browner with hints of red. The trees are also filled with warm tones but soon they’ll stand bare until the first signs of spring. It truly is a gorgeous time to wander about the estate!
Jonkershuis Restaurant is situated at Groot Constantia Wine Estate with amazing views onto the north façade of the historic Manor House. To book a table outside on a sunny day or inside beside the fireplace call: +27 21 794 6255
WINTER HOURS: (May- August)
Sunday – Thursday: 09h00 – 17h00
Friday – Saturday: 09h00 – 21h00
Breakfast Served Daily: 09h00 – 11h30
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