Welcome to the Western Cape Wineries - a kiwi's opinion blog

I originally set up this blog to help foreigners have an enjoyable experience when visiting the western cape wineries in South Africa.

I realised that it is very difficult for a tourist to choose where to go and which wineries to visit, when you have 600+ wine producers to choose from.

When I first moved to SA December 2010, my palate struggled to adjust to SA wine, b
ut after living here for a while and after visiting over 100+ wine estates, I have found many wines which I really like and can highly recommend.

Admittingly, when you come from another country it is hard not to compare the wine in SA to what you are used to back home. However, once you realise they are not the same (they have their own characteristics due to the different soil, climate etc) and appreciate their wines for being SA wines, it will improve your opinion and experience of the wines immediately.

If you are staying in SA for a while, don't dispair, your palate will change, and you will soon find yourself liking SA wine over your home countries wine!!

I hope my blog will help wine lovers have an enjoyable wine experience while in SA.

Please note: I am not a wine connoisseur. The comments I write about the wine is mostly for my own benefit of having them on record.

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Groot Constantia

This was the 2nd winery we visited on Sunday. It was such a nice day, and this photo was taken just outside the entrance of the cellar door.

I was not expecting much from this winery because of what I had heard from the reviews on www.spitorswallow.com. I had heard that it is very commercial, touristy and not the most enjoyable winery to visit. On arrival, we had to queue to pay for our tasting, which cost R35 for a tasting of 5 wines and a glass you can take home, or R25 which is for a tasting, but no glass. I immediately could relate to what the people meant on spitorswallow. Having to queue was very strange for me, and created the feeling that you are just another tourist walking in for a tasting, you are nothing special. (Even though this wasn't a great start to my opinion of the place, do read on, as it did change and resulted in a very nice wine tasting experience)!!

We got to the tasting section and were poured a generous amount of our first wine and were told we could sit wherever we liked (in the big wine tasting hall) and to come back when we wanted our next glass. I thought, ergh, this is very uncool. We sat down on the sofa's near to the wine tasting section so we didn't have to walk far for our next tasting. As we didn't want to drink the entire glass of wine poured but just have a taste of them, it was not long before we went back to try more. As no other guests were at the wine tasting section, we got to stay there and talk to the ladies serving the wine. This is when our wine tasting experience changed for the better!!

I decided to try all four whites and the rose. The semillon/Sauvignon Blanc (R63) was rounded, light and an ok wine.The Sauvignon Blanc 2010 (R89) which won Veritas - Gold, Platters Wine Guide - 5 stars, Classic Wine Trophy - Gold and International Wine Challenge (UK) 2011 - Gold I thought was smooth and ok. The Governeurs Sauvignon Blanc 2009 was very herbaceous and again ok.

The Gouverners Reserve (White) 2009 (R140) however, was very nice. This was nicely balanced, smooth and appealed to me the most out of the white wines. I had no problem drinking the entire pour, it was very easy and enjoyable to drink!! I could definitely sit down to a bottle of that wine. I then had the Blanc de Noir 2010 (R56) and this was very nice. It had a very nice salmon pink colour to it, the skins had been in contact for only 2 hours, it was nicely balanced, definitely another favourite of mine.

By this stage, we had decided to plant ourselves at the wine tasting section, while Alison and Wilma told us lots about the history of the winery and the wine. They REALLY made the experience enjoyable and memorable. To top off the experience, Alison was so kind to let us have a tasting of the Grand Constance 2008 which unfortunately is not on the list for tasting. But for R330 a bottle, I can understand why they don't allow tastings. We all THOROUGHLY enjoyed this desert wine. It was by far the best desert wine I have tried. It had great flavour, great body, yet it is light, silky, smooth, sweet and was very nicely balanced. It was just gorgeous! We almost bought a bottle, but our budget got the best of us :-) To finish the tasting Alison also gave us a tasting of the Port 2009 (R114). This was also very nice. It also had great body, was slightly sweet and was very enjoyable.

So it turned out to be a very nice experience thanks to the fantastic service by Alison and Wilma, the stories and history they told us about the wine and winery, and the extra kindness they showed by allowing us to try the Grand Constance.

I would definitely recommend this winery. I hope that when you go, it is also not so busy and that you too can spend time with Alison and Wilma and learn all about this winery's history. We went at lunch time, which maybe is the key time to go while all the tourists are in a restaurant eating lunch? Talking about lunch, previously I had been to Simon's at Groot Constantia for lunch and it was a VERY nice experience. You will not be disappointed with choosing Simon's for lunch!!

No comments:

Post a Comment