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

It’s High Time Again

HIGH CONSTANTIA WINE CELLAR
Wednesday 5 July 2017
http://highconstantia.co.za/

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 *):

Sparkling:

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

White:

2015 Cielo Nel Capo Reserve Sauvignon Blanc – R215*

Red:

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

More than Just a Destination

Quoin Rock Gently Roars at Knorhoek

Intimate, Tranquil and Refined

Family Fun at the Greek Harvest Festival

Purring at the Wines in Tyger Valley

Tasting Vines at the Vineyard

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

Warwick Wines Win their Colours

Maiden Visit to Lord’s Bowled Me Over

iWine rather than IMAX at the Cape Gate Mall

From Palette to Palate to Muratie

Dreaming of a Wine Christmas

Altitudes with Wine!

Mooi Mooi Mooi Mooiplaas

A Family Occasion – the Story behind the Bottle

Franschhoek’s Hidden Gem Is Reluctant to Reveal

Leaping to the Right Conclusions

Villion Pairs with Barton in Bot Rivier

All Green at Villiera

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

Wine on the Slopes at Chamonix

Au Revoir France!

Waterf-ord More Ord-inary Than Extra-ord-inary

Rivergold is a Gem Waiting to be Discovered

Magical Wines Star at Dragonridge

Iconic Steenberg

Multi-Faceted Wines on Display at the Vineyard

Beyond Expectation

Nala Wines are Well Engineered in the Vineyard

Blaauwklippen was Good for a Friday

Bracing Brakes on the Red Wines at Remhoogte

Taking the Garage into the Classroom

Hazendal Fit for a Tsar, a Hare and a God of Wine

Heaven Meets Earth at Bouchard Finlayson

At the Bend in the Road in Bot River

Serenity without Worry or Preoccupation in the Chapel

SMV, SMG, GSM – BLICS and PAPERCLIPS!

Dave Goes Down Under and the Wines Go Up

Wines Merely to Lust After

Wagons to the Cellar at Waboomsrivier

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

Joy at Really Tasting the Difference at Esona

Beau-tiful Beau-tique Beau-Constantia

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

Late at Lateganskop

High Living on the Stoep Sipping Aged, Luscious Red Wines

Summer Whites …… and Rosés

No Blues at Hillcrest

Barrels of Fun at My First Stellenbosch Street Soirée

Quality with Style in the Vineyard

Mixed Spice at the Pinotage Festival

Individual Quality at Jordan

Groot Phesantekraal an Unexpected Surprise!

Ghostly Clouds Swirl at Spookfontein

Being Creative at Flagstone

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

Perfection is Attainable at Boschkloof Wines

Four Partners (not Cousins) at the Vineyard Hotel

Always a Favourite – Guaranteed to Delight

Great Value in the Swartland

Water into Wine at Uitkyk

Grape Expectations are Met at Zevenwacht

No Black Marks at Raka

Malverne Dis-Clos-ed

All is Not Lost in a Safe Port

In the Vineyard with Beyerskloof

In the Highlands in the Lowlands of Elgin

Relaxing Rosendal

More-ish Wines at Môreson

Vista to Verdot at Glen Carlou

Diploma Done and Dusted – But for the Final Result – I Passed!

Value for Money from Angel Gabriel in the Vineyard

K-eynote W-ines at the V-ineyard

Old Oaks at La Bourgogne

The Big Easy Tee’s Off in the Vineyard

More Still at Tanagra

British Reserve and Excellence at Sumaridge

From the Angel Gabriel to the Arch Angel

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

‘Out of the Office’ at Groot Constantia

Grand Wines at the Big Top!

Sip Sip Sip and Drip Drip Drip at Domaine des Dieux

Better than a Fair View Where the Goats do Roam!

Wines Out of the Barrel at Kanonkop

Onderkloof Beats All the Odds Below The Valley

Cabernet Franc – Well Worth a Gamble!

Hout Bay Vineyards – Simply the Best!

One Day, Three Tastings, Five Wines and Seven Sisters

In the Garage in the Heart of McGregor

Colmant Sparkled

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

Verticle Tasting on the Ridge in Elgin

Surprisingly Good – and Not Only for the Red Bus Tourists

Trading Wines in the City Bowl

Lust-ful Reds in the Vineyard

Morgenhof in the Morning

Big Preparations in the Little Vineyard

Quality Abounds on the Mound at La Motte

Cabsolutely Frankulous at the Carnival

Straw Berry Yields for e-Ver-gelegen

The Darling from Darling Steps into the Vineyard

Red Chair in the Morning

Where the Lions Roar in the Wild West of Bot Rivier

On the Left, but then on the Right …

How Do You Grow a Vineyard Like Maria?

Simple Spier

Sugar and Spice is Twice as Nice

Boutique de Brendel

Elegant Wines Kiss the Lips in the Vineyard

Honest, Affordable Family Wines at Landskroon

A Hidden Gem of Rare Excellence

Wine Notes Composed at D’Aria

Lithos Wines Soar above Mountain and Forest

Intriguing and Confusing – An Enigmatic Experience

Saxenburg Puts Heart, Mind and Soul into Its Wines

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

Baby Thrown Out with the Bath Water?

Clouds Reign in Stellenbosch

Family Fun in Pairs at Four Cousins

Kosie Wynes at Groenland

Waxing Lyrical about Canto

Mutual Attraction

Mulderbosch didn’t quite Meet the Yardstick

My Best Blend at Zandvliet

Ruddy Red and Blanc Sauvignons

The Terroir is Honoured in the Bottle at Springfield

Fun(ny) Times at Lourensford

Wacky – not Tacky – in Robertson

Swiss Family Sauvignons at Eikendal

I Needed to be Guided by the Angel Gabriel

Rain Meets Earth at Newton Johnson

Bellville to Bellevue to Belle Wines

Very Cape Wines at Capaia

Wines That Don’t Cost The Earth

Excelsior Blends Quality with Price

Neil’s Vines on the Tr-Ellis in Stellenbosch

Sax ‘n’ Berg at the Vineyard

Iona Wines Remain Excellent In and At the Vineyard

Rijk Tulbagh Gives Name to Cellar and Town

Posh Spice in Franschhoek!

Pastures Anew at Rustenberg

A Warm Welcome in the Cool Climate at South Hill

The Gods Come Home to the Vineyard

Oh-MG at Anthonij Rupert

Linga-ring in a Winery in Malawi

Rustic Charm at the Altydgedacht Wine Farm

Bon Courage and Bon Voyage

Wines to Love on Love Street

The Garagiste in the Garage at Sonklip!

Shiraz Purrs at Manley Wine Lodge

An Early Start at Rietvallei

Windfall Offered Unexpected Delights

Class in Glass at Glenelly

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

Blush-endal!

The Phoenix Rises from the Terroir at Thelema

PicknPay Pairs it again at the Stellenbosch Wine Festival

It’s all Art and Wine at Almenkerk

Peace but No Rest for Rust en Vrede

Seven Reasons To Visit Seven Oaks Wines

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

Sweet and Safe Times Pair Well with the Whales

Sa-Bot-Riveur!

On Yonder Hill There Stands a Vineyard!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *