Not only is the new year in full swing…so is the 2022 wine harvest! Constantia Glen enters its most anticipated and busiest season of the wine calendar, and it coincides with the release of its new vintages of flagship wines; the Constantia Glen TWO 2020 and Constantia Glen FIVE 2019. Situated in Constantia, the oldest wine-producing region in the New World, Constantia Glen is one of only 10 working wine farms producing some of South Africa’s most historic (over 333 years), exclusive and internationally lauded wines.
Harvest is always an exciting time of year, because the moment wine grapes are picked, one can celebrate all the work that has gone into tending the vines from the previous winter season when the vines were pruned. Furthermore, it then holds in anticipation, the quality of vintage as the wines begin their journey from grape to bottle, says Constantia Glen Winemaker, Justin van Wyk.
Harvest kicked off with Sauvignon Blanc on 28th February and will see a busy few weeks of picking this cultivar alone. “We wait for a long time to allow our Sauvignon Blanc sugars to climb, for the acids to drop and for it to ripen completely so that the flavours are well balanced. This 2022 vintage is one of the latest vintages we have experienced at Constantia Glen over the past decade. The reasons for the later vintage are twofold. Firstly, a very cold spell of weather with a lot of snow on the mountains surrounding the Cape winelands at the end of August 2021. This cold weather just before the onset of Spring pushed bud break out a week or 2 later than normal. Secondly, we had an incredibly cool spring and summer growing season, with the first really warm temperatures arising in January 2022,” says Justin.
In celebration of harvest and Cape Town’s spectacular summer weather, the Tasting Room will be hosting Friday Sundowner Sessions with local musicians until mid-April. At the end of the young oak-lined driveway is where you’ll find the tasting room. Once a cowshed and adjoining stables whose klompie bricks trace the personal journey of the Waibel Family, owners of Constantia Glen, whose story on this property spans almost 60 years. Located high on a hill, the tasting room boasts breathtaking views which rival some of the best in Cape Town combining mountains, False Bay ocean views and cascading vineyards. “An Austrian gasthaus is a place where the community comes together,” says Stephanie Waibel. The Tasting room is our gasthaus. In it, we want to reignite a little romance and a sentimentality in this very fast-paced world.”
Whether visiting for a leisurely lunch or lazing on the lawns with a glass in hand on a Friday evening, guests can come and truly feel at home. One of the firm favourites is the Flammkuchen (literally translated as ‘flame cake’) originating during World War II in Alsace (the culturally rich and diverse upper Rhine region bordering France, Germany and Switzerland) where they relied on cast-iron stoves in the absence of electricity. The dish is similar to pizza with a flat, thin crispy rectangular base and was traditionally spread with crème fraîche sauce, thinly sliced onion and Alphen speck (cured ham). Guests can look forward to savouring the best of the fine menu on offer and firm favourites of flammkuchen and cheese boards, but also add live music to the breath-taking setting and sunsets the city is graced with in summer.
When it comes to the release of the Constantia Glen FIVE 2019 (a classic Red blend of the five Bordeaux varieties – Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot) Justin says, “2019 was a particularly cool vintage at Constantia Glen. A cool ripening season allows for gentle and slow ripening of the grapes, and this leads to greater complexity of flavour precursors in the grapes, as well as good acidity at the time of picking. The resulting wines are elegant and fresh with bright aromatics. Our dryland vineyards showed remarkable buffering capacity and the 2019 vintage delivered extremely elegant and refined red wines with great richness, texture, aromatic purity, and persistent, mouth-coating tannins.”
“2020 was yet another fantastic vintage for the white varieties at Constantia Glen,” says Justin. “The flavour of the grapes at the time of picking was concentrated and intense with good acidity and 2020 vintage of Constantia Glen TWO (a rich and concentrated blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Sémillon) shows excellent refinement, coupled with great texture and delicious, mouth-coating acidity that lingers on the palate.”