Thursday, November 1, 2012

Constantia Wine Tasting & Lunch at Steenberg Estate, South Africa

Sept. 27, 2012 - After walking through the beautiful vineyards at Cape Point, we discovered that the fuel pump of our transport van had gone out. Therefore we were delayed for almost an hour before back-up transport arrived so we could continue our trip to Steenberg Winery in Constantia.

Fortunately Constantia, which is really a suberb of Capetown, was only a 20 minute drive from Cape Point Winery. As we drove the clouds descended and it started to rain. The tasting included six producers from Constantia, which is the oldest wine growing region in South Africa and boasts the legendary wine called Klein Constantia. This is a late harvest non-botrytis wine made from the Muscat de Frontignan grape and sells for $50 for a 500 liter hand-blown glass bottle made in Italy (see photo). We had the 2007 and it was delicious with sweet apricot fruit on nose and palate, a cleansing acidity, and long finish.

The tasting included around 20 wines from Constantia, and in this region I was very impressed with the chardonnays, Chenin blancs and of course, the famous Klein Constantia.

Lunch was a grand affair at the public Restaurant at Steenberg Estate where we had a three course lunch that didn’t end until close to five o’clock. The food, wine, service, and view were excellent, and I would definitely return here again on a future trip. It started with a fried South African Soft-Shelled Crab with the Steenberg Brut of Pinot Noir. The main course was beef filet with 2008 Eagle’s Crest Merlot. Dessert was a mixed assortment of chocolates and petit fours artistically presented on a long board.

Platter’s Tasting of 5-Star South African Wines

We left Constantia in the pouring rain and returned to our hotel for a short rest. At 6:15 we boarded the bus again and headed to a wine bar called French Toast where they had reserved the second floor for a tasting of South Africa’s top 5 star wines for the past 3 decades.

It was a fascinating tasting consisting of 24 wines from the 1970’s, 80s, 90’s and 2000s, of which 7 were white and the remaining 14 were red. It was impossible to select a favorite as they all were exceptional.

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