An afternoon with Grand Constance
The honoured guest is chilling on ice while Jean Naudé, CEO of Groot Constantia and Winemaker, Boela Gerber, greet us under the oak trees on Groot Constantia Wine Estate. Boela is the winemaker of the award-winning sweet wine, Grand Constance and we were invited to spend an afternoon enjoying the sweet flavours of the wine that’s been a brand since the Napoleonic era. The view is breathtaking and Boela explains that you can see False Bay on a clear day, a wine farm with an ocean view!
While we wait I slip into the kitchen of the well known Jonkershuis Restaurant to see what Chef Stef and his team have in store for us. The kitchen is a buzz with Kudu Wellington, Ricotta Gnudi, Bruschetta, apricot tasters and much more. The smells are making my mouth water while Chef Stef is explaining his take on a Kudu Wellington.
I take my leave to get back to a perfect Cape Town autumn under the oak trees and to have my first taste of the Grand Constance. Beautiful apricot and honey nose with a Turkish delight floral palate. Perfect for a slightly cooler day.
Chef Stef and his team join us outside to make us work for our lunch. He explains the process of making Ricotta Gnudi, which is basically Gnocchi made with Ricotta cheese. He also asks us all to join in the process by coating the gnocchi with flour by twirling it in a wine glass.
With all the hard work done we’re back to enjoy the beautiful liquid amber of the Grand Constance while Boela Gerber informs us about the process of creating this award-winning wine. The Grand Constance is a blend of red and white Muscat de Frontignan from the block right next to the Manor house. The tiny bit of red Muscat is the contributor to the Turkish delight and rose petal aromas.
We’re asked to taste the Grand Constance with combinations of goats cheese, chicken liver parfait, apricot & vanilla, apple chutney, pineapple & chilli preserve, spiced beetroot relish and almond and honey praline. While discussing personal preference we need to see what works and what doesn’t out of these diverse flavours.
After indulging in these amazing combinations we’re escorted to lunch by the fire. The Ricotta Gnudi was served with butternut emulsion, pecan nuts, spinach and sage butter. It is a combination of smooth flavours and mixed texture, perfectly accompanied by a crispy Gouverneurs White, a Semillon Sauvignon Blanc blend.
While Tammy Botbyl and her Jonkershuis team are making sure we're well looked after and we have some time to talk to CEO Jean Naudé about the history of Groot Constantia, the next course is served. Kudu Wellington roasted vegetables, cauliflower mash, red wine sauce and parmentier potatoes. These combinations of intense and delicate flavours were mirrored by the Gouverneurs Reserve Red, a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot.
Jean Naudé took some time to really explain how special the Grand Constance is and was, from heritage to packaging. Sharing a couple of interesting stories, from Jane Austin’s mentioning in Sense and Sensibility, that the “Constantia Wyn” is a cure for a broken heart, to the fact that before his death in 1821, Napoleon had shipped 30 bottles per month to St Helena to ease his exile.
Again we’re treated with the Grand Constance when it accompanied a delicious plate of chocolate decadence. After a coffee and a gift from Jean and Boela, we drive down the lane of oak trees with a swirl of flavours in our mouth and sweet memories of liquid amber.
About Grand Constance:
Groot Constantia’s 2013 Grand Constance wine has achieved a Gold Award at the 2016 Monde Selection International Wine Contest which took place in Brussels on 21 and 22 April. This is the second year in a row that Groot Constantia’s renowned Grand Constance wine has walked away with a top award from the Monde judging panel, which is made up of over 70 totally independent judges consisting of Michelin starred chefs and master sommeliers, amongst other experts, who judged wines from 26 different countries.
Grand Constance can be bought on the estate and other reputable wine retailers nationally.
To book a table at Jonkershuis Restaurant call: +27 21 794 6255
Blogs and Photography: Marike Herselman