Groot Constantia’s 2013 Grand Constance wine has achieved the highest possible accolade at the recent Decanter Asia Wine Awards. Surpassing Gold, Grand Constance received Platinum for being the Best South African Sweet Wine – achieving a rare 98 points out of a possible 100, and being classed as “exceptional”.
“The Decanter Asia Wine Awards (DAWA) is Asia’s leading wine competition. Judged by Asia’s top wine experts, the awards aim to provide consumers with a trusted source of wine recommendations,” explains Grant Newton, Marketing Manager for Groot Constantia.
“This latest award reinforces the fact that the terroir at Groot Constantia is perfect for the production of this centuries old liquid gold that has made Constantia wine famous for more than 300 years. Our dedicated production team have once again made us proud! After all, it’s not everyday that a wine scores 98 points at the Decanter Asia Awards. I am truly excited about the future of Grand Constance.”
A rich and fascinating history
“Groot Constantia is South Africa’s oldest wine producing estate – in existence for 331 years this year,” explains Jean Naudé, Groot Constantia CEO. “Wine has been produced on the estate without interruption since 1685 and we take pride in our Grand Constance which is a brand from the Napoleonic era.”
During the 18th Century Grand Constance, the French translation for Groot Constantia, received international acclaim for its superior quality and began to fetch extremely high prices at well-attended auctions in many European cities – with emperors and kings, such as Frederick the Great of Prussia, Napoleon and Louis Phillipe (King of the French), all vying for their share.
Napoleon’s drink of choice, and a wine with a colourful past
Before his death in 1821, Napoleon had 30 bottles of Grand Constance shipped over to St Helena Island every month to ease his exile. Charles Dickens celebrated it in Edwin Drood, Jane Austen’s character recommended it as a cure for a broken heart to heroine Marianne Dashwood in Sense and Sensibility and Charles Baudelaire compared Constantia wine to his lover‘s lips in his most famous volume of poems, Les Fleurs du Mal.
Constantia bottles, bottle shards and bottle seals dating from as far back as 1774 have been found in far corners of the globe in some unusual circumstances: One bottle was found at the bottom of the ocean outside Stockholm in the 1940’s by a diver; three bottles were discovered in the cellar of a castle near Belgium that date to the period 1760 – 1840; a bottle piece featuring the Constantia bottle seal was discovered on a beach in the Delaware Bay and identified by historians to be part of the cargo of the Severn – a ship that was stranded there in 1774; another find was a very crude example of the Constantia wine seal – evidently far older than all the other examples – which was unearthed in an excavation in Meiningen in Germany.
Historical bottle of Grand Constance returns to its birth place
In a recent exciting development, Groot Constantia brought home a 195 year old bottle of Grand Constance that the estate purchased in an online auction on Catawiki. This historical old 1821 bottle was returned to the four walls in which it was produced nearly two centuries ago and now occupies a prominent position in the Cloete Cellar.
“The Cloete Cellar consistently plays a central role at Groot Constantia. It was the only place where the famous Grand Constance wine was ever produced,” says Naudé.
Now the cellar will form an even more integral part of Groot Constantia’s unique new Visitors Route, to be launched in the summer of 2016/17. 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’s wines.
Groot Constantia hand-crafted wines receiving recognition across the board
Grand Constance is no stranger to being awarded, with the 2015 vintage receiving a Grand Gold award at the globally-renowned Monde Selection International Wine Contest last year. Groot Constantia’s wines, which are hand-crafted in small volumes, in general continue to rake in the awards, with the estate having won over 100 top accolades in the past 10 years alone.
In addition to the most recent Decanter Asia Platinum Award for the 2013 Grand Constance with a 98 points score, Grand Constance also won Platinum at the 2016 Michelangelo International Wine & Spirits Awards. Groot Constantia’s 2014 Shiraz also recently received a Gold Veritas Award and, along with the 2013 Gouverneurs Reserve Red, won a double gold Grand’ Or at the 2016 Michelangelo Awards.
“Awards like these don’t just happen. Preparation started years ago when the vineyards were planted and great care has been consistently applied to ensure that vines are planted in the perfect terroir. The current success will therefore be ongoing in the future,” says Naudé
“We are delighted and proud of these wonderful achievements by our wines,” concludes award winning winemaker for Groot Constantia, Boela Gerber. They are an excellent recognition to our team, the estate and our processes in general. History tends to repeat itself and over centuries this farm has produced, and continues to produce, high quality wines which are respected throughout the world.”
For more information visit www.grootconstantia.co.za or connect with Groot Constantia via social media on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @GrootConstantia.