It’s High Time Again
Constantia Valley Experience 4.0 Wine 4.0

It’s High Time Again

Wednesday 5 July 2017

Experience: 4/5
Wines: 4/5

I have always wanted to bring my partner to High Constantia since I first visited in February. There are few wine farms or estates I have returned to yet, preferring to explore anew. There’s so much choice in the Western Cape. When I think of it, High Constantia is the first cellar I have returned to for tasting only (they don’t serve snacks but I was able to take my own). I have been back to 2 other vineyards – Waverley Hills and Oak Valley – but they were either for a meal or for a meal and tasting.

High Constantia is so easy to miss on the right hand side of the road leading to Groot Constantia. As I wrote before, whilst unassuming from the road, it has a delightful stoep overlooking a lake and old nunnery building at the rear. Entry is via the working cellar. The staff were labelling MCC and other wines as I arrived.

Sanneline greeted me again and looked after us well. I had tasted on reds before due to the time of year and so was excited to sample the MCC and Sauvignon Blanc. The MCC was worth waiting for and my favourite wine. Served at just the right temperature (as all the wines were for the tasting), the fine bubbles continuously rose from the medium gold wine in the glass. Apple fruity and orange blossom aromas melted into delicious dry, toasty apple flavours on the palate. This was an MCC to drink much more of and enjoy.

It was only this morning that I read an article about how wooded Sauvignon Blanc are set to re-emerge. Blanc Fumé was briefly popular in the late-1990s and early-2000s. Graves in Bordeaux typically blends Sémillon Blanc with Sauvignon Blanc, as some South African producers do. Nonetheless, the Bordeaux White blends remain unpopular. Wooded Sauvignon Blanc (or Sauvignon Blanc with up to 15% added Sémillon) allows the winemaker to add extra complexity. It remains very at much experimental stage and with a very small handful of producers making it in South Africa.


It was therefore an amazing confidence to be offered the wooded Cielo Nel Capo Reserve Sauvignon Blanc for the second tasting wine. The wine matures for 9 months in acacia and oak barrels. It was a typical watery green, straw colour in appearance, perhaps a little deeper than usual. I spent a while trying to describe the aromas and flavours. These were a combination of green melon, kiwi, and chalky citrus with a delicate wood flavour on the palate. There was a sweetness I had not tasted before that must have come from the acacia. I liked it and bought a bottle.

I tasted the Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot before. These are decent quality wines, with a price to match, and ones that will keep. I was interested to see how my tasting scores compared and especially so since I was still quite new to scoring in early February. I scored the Cabernet Franc and Merlot the same but marginally improved that for the Cabernet Sauvignon on second tasting.

The final 2 wines were a treat to compare. The 2007 Sebastiaan Bordeaux Blend had since been released and there was stock remaining of the 2006 vintage. The wines differed primarily in the 20% of minority cultivars and, of course, year. I rated both equally but they were not the same. The 2006 wine had a more grippy tannin while the 2007 vintage was softer on the palate with warmer, fruitier, aromatic flavours. I was intrigued to read after that 2006 was characterised by fleshier, mild tannined reds. 2007 red wines are known for having more intense colour and fruit concentration.

High Constantia is well worth a visit. Sanneline is polite and knowledgeable and a good tasting host. There’s rarely more than half a dozen wines to taste, depending on time of year, and I paid extra (R70) for the MCC. It is rare too to be able to taste 2006, 2007 and 2008 vintages at a regular tasting too. One can therefore choose to make a brief tasting stop or to linger for longer. I highly recommend. Whichever you choose, you will not be disappointed.

Wines tasted (bought *):


2013 Clos Andre Brut MCC (70% Chardonnay, 30% Pinot Noir) – R350 FAVOURITE WINE


2015 Cielo Nel Capo Reserve Sauvignon Blanc – R215*


2011 Cabernet Franc – R275
2008 Cabernet Sauvignon – R235
2008 Merlot – R235
2006 Sebastiaan (45% Cabernet Franc, 35% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot, 8% Petit Verdot, 2% Malbec) – R350
2007 Sebastiaan (43% Cabernet Franc, 37% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Petit Verdot, 8% Malbec, 2% Merlot) – R350

You Might Also Like

Wines to Love on Love Street

All is Not Lost in a Safe Port

Oh-MG at Anthonij Rupert

Waxing Lyrical about Canto

Value for Money from Angel Gabriel in the Vineyard

Big Preparations in the Little Vineyard

Water into Wine at Uitkyk

More than Just a Destination

Trading Wines in the City Bowl

The Gods Come Home to the Vineyard

In the Garage in the Heart of McGregor

Onderkloof Beats All the Odds Below The Valley

Around the (Old) World in 18 Hours – starting with the European Cuvée!

More-ish Wines at Môreson

Vista to Verdot at Glen Carlou

Rustic Charm at the Altydgedacht Wine Farm

Grape Expectations are Met at Zevenwacht

Serenity without Worry or Preoccupation in the Chapel

Dreaming of a Wine Christmas

Honest, Affordable Family Wines at Landskroon

Cabernet Franc – Well Worth a Gamble!

Bracing Brakes on the Red Wines at Remhoogte

Wacky – not Tacky – in Robertson

Wines Merely to Lust After

Great Value in the Swartland

Hout Bay Vineyards – Simply the Best!

Barrels of Fun at My First Stellenbosch Street Soirée

Fun(ny) Times at Lourensford

Lust-ful Reds in the Vineyard

Iconic Steenberg

One Day, Three Tastings, Five Wines and Seven Sisters

Beau-tiful Beau-tique Beau-Constantia

On the Left, but then on the Right …

It’s all Art and Wine at Almenkerk

The Darling from Darling Steps into the Vineyard

A Warm Welcome in the Cool Climate at South Hill

Franschhoek’s Hidden Gem Is Reluctant to Reveal

The Vineyard Hotel a Classic Vehicle to Showcase L’Ormarins Wines

Wagons to the Cellar at Waboomsrivier

Class in Glass at Glenelly

Shiraz Purrs at Manley Wine Lodge

Quality with Style in the Vineyard

Excelsior Blends Quality with Price

Perfection is Attainable at Boschkloof Wines

Purring at the Wines in Tyger Valley

Mooi Mooi Mooi Mooiplaas

Magical Wines Star at Dragonridge

Did I really spend THAT much on a Bottle of Wine?

Swiss Family Sauvignons at Eikendal

Sax ‘n’ Berg at the Vineyard

Late at Lateganskop

Bon Courage and Bon Voyage

PicknPay Pairs it again at the Stellenbosch Wine Festival

Lithos Wines Soar above Mountain and Forest

Taint, Mould, Sweet-Sour, Elastoplast, Stale Honey, Bee Wax and Potato Skin With the Wine Prof

Masses of Fun and a little Chaos at the Ambeloui Harvest Festival



Cabsolutely Frankulous at the Carnival

Speed Tasting with Sommelier ‘Royalty’ at my First SASA Meeting

Straw Berry Yields for e-Ver-gelegen

British Reserve and Excellence at Sumaridge

Wines Out of the Barrel at Kanonkop

Clouds Reign in Stellenbosch

Mutual Attraction

Beyond Expectation

Family Fun at the Greek Harvest Festival

This Vineyard Touched My Soul (aka, I Bought My First Bottle of Petrus)

Better than a Fair View Where the Goats do Roam!

The Big Easy Tee’s Off in the Vineyard

The Phoenix Rises from the Terroir at Thelema

Seven Reasons To Visit Seven Oaks Wines

Boutique de Brendel

Well Hosted and Enjoyable – Even Though I did not Experience at its Best

Altitudes with Wine!

Mixed Spice at the Pinotage Festival

Grand Wines at the Big Top!

Of Female Rugby Players and Ballet Dancers! Let’s Continuously Study Very Seriously: Wines of the Loire and Northern Rhône

No Black Marks at Raka

The Garagiste in the Garage at Sonklip!

‘Out of the Office’ at Groot Constantia

Neil’s Vines on the Tr-Ellis in Stellenbosch

Intriguing and Confusing – An Enigmatic Experience

Linga-ring in a Winery in Malawi

Surprisingly Good – and Not Only for the Red Bus Tourists

Saxenburg Puts Heart, Mind and Soul into Its Wines

Iona Wines Remain Excellent In and At the Vineyard

Groot Phesantekraal an Unexpected Surprise!

Nala Wines are Well Engineered in the Vineyard

Quality Abounds on the Mound at La Motte

K-eynote W-ines at the V-ineyard

Baby Thrown Out with the Bath Water?

iWine rather than IMAX at the Cape Gate Mall

Wines That Don’t Cost The Earth

Wine Notes Composed at D’Aria

Blaauwklippen was Good for a Friday

Sugar and Spice is Twice as Nice

Warwick Wines Win their Colours

Peace but No Rest at Rust en Vrede

Family Fun in Pairs at Four Cousins

Heaven Meets Earth at Bouchard Finlayson

Au Revoir France!

Rijk Tulbagh Gives Name to Cellar and Town

Multi-Faceted Wines on Display at the Vineyard

In the Highlands in the Lowlands of Elgin

More Still at Tanagra


Verticle Tasting on the Ridge in Elgin

Always a Favourite – Guaranteed to Delight

Red Chair in the Morning

On Yonder Hill There Stands a Vineyard!

Bellville to Bellevue to Belle Wines

Pastures Anew at Rustenberg

Four Partners (not Cousins) at the Vineyard Hotel

At the Bend in the Road in Bot River

A Family Occasion – the Story behind the Bottle

Kosie Wynes at Groenland

Summer Whites …… and Rosés

Malverne Dis-Clos-ed

Intimate, Tranquil and Refined

Posh Spice in Franschhoek!

How Do You Grow a Vineyard Like Maria?

Wine on the Slopes at Chamonix

The Terroir is Honoured in the Bottle at Springfield

Taking the Garage into the Classroom

Elegant Wines Kiss the Lips in the Vineyard

“Swimming Pool” Wines for Now – or Leave until Later

Sweet and Safe Times Pair Well with the Whales

Maiden Visit to Lord’s Bowled Me Over

In the Vineyard with Beyerskloof

High Living on the Stoep Sipping Aged, Luscious Red Wines

From Palette to Palate to Muratie

A Hidden Gem of Rare Excellence

Mulderbosch didn’t quite Meet the Yardstick

Tasting Vines at the Vineyard

Leave a Reply

Your e-mail address will not be published. Required fields are marked *