Thursday 19 January 2017
We had our first meeting last night and what fun it was. The moment had come after all the planning and research. I had visited 9 of the 14 vineyards in the Constantia Valley and surrounds to select single variety wines for the evening. Yes, can you name them all? Please comment here.
There was a lot of equipment to buy too: glasses, water jugs, pourers, a spittoon and a large bottle cooler. I bought cheeses, nuts, grapes and dried fruit too for the cheese platter to eat afterwards.
My partner helped with the admin and making up tasting mats, printing off my notes about the wines, the grapes, how to taste and tasting sheets. We made these up into folders for our guests to take way and to collect and use. The room and the table looked great as I decorated it with grape vine leaves from the garden.
I explained the background to the Society and why I established it. It was fun explaining how to taste wine and what to look out for in the appearance, nose and the palate. Very soon it was time to taste.
I had chosen three common single variety white wines to start. These were distinct and very different to show off how acidity and sweetness varies, how subtly colour differs, what colour differences mean, and how to see the ‘legs’ and ‘tears’.
There was a Sauvignon Blanc, crisp and acidic, a classic and complex Chardonnay, and a floral aromatic Viognier. I had chosen one from each of the key white wine flavour families: Herbal, Apple and Floral. Learn how to identify and distinguish these and being able to recognise grape variety comes much easier.
The Rosé was well liked, and much more than I had remembered when I tasted it at the vineyard. Fresh and easy drinking, it delighted.
A pause to relax and re-stock the glasses and then we sampled the reds. These were very different too but the first two appeared similar in colour and feel. A plummy and meaty Merlot and a young but quaffable Cabernet Sauvignon confused, albeit both are from the Black-fruit red wine flavour family. The last red was the favourite for all: a spicy, fruity, balanced Shiraz. The black pepper on the nose was an immediate clue that this wine was from the Spiced Fruit flavour family.
We ended with another special wine, a dessert wine made from hanepoot (red muscat) grapes. There was much conversation and guessing as to the grape variety. This wine was a definite high point to finish with.
Conversation easily flowed as we sampled the cheese platter, taking sips from our favourites from the evening. I had selected cheeses to pair with the wines I had selected so our learning continued.
Time seemed to pass easily and freely as we blended good wine, good learning and good fun. I am already planning to repeat this tasting for those who were unable to make this evening.
The Cape Wine Lovers’ Society is heading forwards with vigour and confidence. Please join us – you won’t find anywhere else to taste these wonderful Constantia wines together in one tasting evening.
2015 Silvermist Sauvignon Blanc – R150
2015 Groot Constantia Chardonnay – SOLD OUT (at the vineyard)
2016 Eagles’ Nest Viognier – R155
2016 Constantia Glen Saddle Rosé – R95
2012 Buitenverwachting Merlot – R150
2014 Klein Steenberg Cabernet Sauvignon – R80
2012 Hout Bay Vineyards Shiraz – R130
Constantia Uitsig Muscat (375ml) – R285