Groot Constantia, the oldest Wine Estate in South Africa, has emphatically entered the Cape Brandy fray with style and finesse.
It is one of the more splendid wine locations in the Cape, Long sprawling driveways, cobble brick paths, lush green lawns and a panoramic vista that stretches 180 degrees over the southern suburbs, and across False bay from tip to tip. Groot Constantia, one of the oldest in the country, have been doing it for years. 332 years to be exact. And back in those days, it wasn’t just wine produced here, but as early as 1734, brandy too.
It is so exciting that Groot Constantia has gone back to its roots, some almost 2 centuries later, by releaseing a pure 100% pot distilled Cape Brandy. It’s been the dream of cellar master Boela Gerber for some time now, and this month it finally reaches fruition.
The brandy was made from 100% Sauvignon Blanc grapes, grown and vinified on the estate, and then double distilled in a small copper potstill. It was then in old 220l Chardonnay barrels in the cellars for 6 years, to gain maturity, richness and complexity. The minimum requirement for VSOP as a Cape Brandy is 5 years, but this specific one had an extra year, just to refine, while the smaller details of its making were plotted out and planned.
No expense has been spared with the packaging either. A perfectly square 375ml bottle is used, and it is tucked away in a super high quality magnetic case, with only the simplest of decorations, to echo the purity of its creation. A classy, almost handwritten front label give the echo of a historic appearance and a splash of colour with VSOP designation finished off what can only be described as an artisan, hand crafted and truly high quality product.
Even the square bottle used tells a tale, as during recent renovations near Jonkershuis on the property, a square bottle was found just like this, that was believed to date back to early origins of the farm. This bottle can still be seen in the museum, and it’s these finer details linking the past to the present that truly round off this superb expression of Cape Brandy.
To taste, it feels like a journey back in time, you almost sense a different era of Cape history with each sip you take. The brandy lights up the nose with toffee, caramel, vanilla and a hint of rum and raisin ice cream. This all follows through to a delicious palate of almond, citrus, honey and subtle white pepper. The swallow is bone dry, spicy and warm with lingering fruit and a hint of soft wood. An exceptional brandy, and another reason the artisan side of our spirit is turning heads around the world.
Only 1000 bottles of this VSOP were produced, and in such rare quantities, it fully justifies its R750 price tag. Unfortunately you can’t taste it at the cellars, so you’ll just have to jump in and buy – you won’t be disappointed. Things look bright for the future of Groot Constantia’s Cape Brandy too. With an XO (10 years +) on the cards in 2020, and ongoing distillation of more fine Groot Constantia wine (including a perfect Pinotage rose), it looks like there is plenty more to come for the Cape Brandy fans in the coming years.