A Grand Taste and Her­itage

Premier Magazine (South AFrica) - - Contents - Text & Im­ages © Groot Con­stan­tia

Grand Con­stance is a wine cel­e­brated in his­tory and lit­er­a­ture, and Groot Con­stan­tia, one of the pre­mier wine es­tates in South Africa, is hon­oured to have its trib­ute to this wine so well-awarded.

Be­fore his death in 1821, Napoleon Bon­a­parte en­joyed Grand Con­stance as his stan­dard tip­ple while in ex­ile. It is recorded that King Louis Philippe of France was, too, a reg­u­lar drinker of the vin­tage. The Bri­tish Royal fam­ily, as well as Fred­eric the Great of Prus­sia, have also all ap­pre­ci­ated the fa­mous sweet wine of Con­stan­tia. Charles Dick­ens cel­e­brated it in Edwin Drood, Jane Austen’s char­ac­ter rec­om­mended it as a cure for a bro­ken heart in Sense and Sen­si­bil­ity, and Charles Baude­laire com­pared Con­stan­tia wine to the lips of his lover in his most fa­mous vol­ume of po­ems, Les Fleurs du Mal.

Groot Con­stan­tia, the old­est wine farm in South Africa boast­ing with over 300 years of wine­mak­ing, un­der­took the in­cred­i­ble task of recre­at­ing the fa­mous Grand Con­stance.

Un­der the guid­ance of award-win­ning wine­maker, Boela Ger­ber, a formula was cre­ated that would recre­ate a wine very sim­i­lar to the Grand Con­stance from 200 years ago, with a few ad­just­ments to ap­peal to more mod­ern tastes. Ger­ber took a leap of faith by us­ing a blend of red and white Mus­cat de Fron­tig­nan grapes from the block right next to the Groot Con­stan­tia Manor House.

Once the con­tents were on track, it came time to cre­ate the bot­tle in which the wine would be pre­sented, which had to be as his­tor­i­cally ac­cu­rate as pos­si­ble.

A five year jour­ney to recre­ate a suit­able bot­tle for the re­vi­talised Grand Con­stance wine started with a bot­tle seal stamped with the words “Con­stan­tia Wyn”. Af­ter scouring the In­ter­net, Ger­ber dis­cov­ered an in­tact bot­tle of the old Grand Con­stance with the same seal in Paris, and from im­ages, a bot­tle was cre­ated.

The “new” Grand Con­stance has not let its an­ces­tor down and con­tin­ues to rake in the awards, hav­ing achieved the high­est pos­si­ble hon­our at the 2016 De­can­ter Asia Wine Awards where the wine re­ceived Plat­inum for be­ing the Best South African Sweet Wine. It achieved a rare 98 points out of a pos­si­ble 100, and was classed as “ex­cep­tional” in what is the lead­ing wine com­pe­ti­tion in Asia.

The wines of Groot Con­stan­tia, which are hand-crafted in small vol­umes, in gen­eral con­tinue to be award win­ners, with the es­tate hav­ing won over 100 top ac­co­lades in the past 10 years alone.

En­joy a trib­ute to wine his­tory by savour­ing a glass of Grand Con­stance.

For more in­for­ma­tion, please visit www.groot­con­stan­tia.co.za or con­nect with Groot Con­stan­tia via so­cial me­dia on Twit­ter, Face­book, and In­sta­gram at @Groot­con­stan­tia.

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