October is Pinotage Month and to celebrate we paid a visit to Groot Constantia, South Africa’s oldest wine-producing estate and the only Pinotage grower in the Constantia Valley to find out what is on offer and a little bit more about their Pinotage.
Groot Constantia is more than just a wine estate, offering visitors a complete experience from tasting to culture and history and of course some fantastic food. We started off our visit with a cellar tour and ended it off with a chocolate and wine pairing designed to enhance not only your experience but each of their wines.
The cellar tour is not only interesting in that it takes you through what it takes to make an award winning wine from grape to bottle but also some of the interesting facts about the history and position of the estate. The way in which the estate is built allows each wine varietal to be grown in near perfect conditions.
Moving onto the tasting each varietal has been paired with a specific chocolate designed to bring out unique characteristics of the wine. From the Sauvignon Blanc paired with a tropical Guava White Chocolate to the Chardonnay paired with White Lime and Apricot and the Governeurs Reserve paired with Morello Cherry Tobago Dark Chocolate it is a real feast for all of your senses.
Focusing in on the Pinotage we are fortunate enough to try the award winning 2013 vintage which was paired a Blackberry Milk Chocolate which really brought out the berries and deep purple fruits within the pinotage. The chocolate complements the fruitiness of the wine adding an indulgent complexity allowing one to enjoy the pairing to its fullest.
Groot Constantia benefits from the fact that there are so many different climatic areas on the farm, this allows them to identify the best climate and conditions for each wine. Their pinotage is no different and benefits immensely from a cooler climate as well as the cooling sea breezes which makes it much softer than its Stellenbosch counterparts and allows for longer ripening conditions.
The marriage of the legacies of both Groot Constantia and Pinotage as uniquely South African and iconic in the industry both locally and abroad adds another layer to the celebration of Pinotage month and certainly adds to the experience of drinking the wine on the estate. Being one of the first to plant Pinotage in South Africa Groot Constantia has excelled in producing the varietal over the past few years.
While the 2013 vintage was awarded the Top 10 ABSA Pinotage award the 2014 won a double-gold at the Top 100 SA Wines 2016 Awards. This is in addition to the coveted Novare Terroir National Award awarded for the Pinotage’s unique and outstanding terroir on the estate.
The 2015 vintage has just been released and all signs point to it being another outstanding vintage for the estate. Thanks to the warm and dry conditions over the past year the vintage is a very expressive and concentrated wine with raspberries, strawberries and ripe plums on the nose, framed by sweet toasted oak. On the palate you have ripe red fruit and oak flavours and a long elegant finish. The fruity softness of the wine makes it a truly fantastic vintage.
The importance of both Pinotage and Groot Constantia in South African wine industry cannot be understated. They have both brought attention to the local industry internationally and have stood out and stood the test of the time. While the estate has a multitude of experiences and varietals for you to enjoy we highly recommend taking some time out to enjoy, learn and experience all that their incredible Pinotage has to offer.
Experienced, written and photographed by @InstaEatsCT.