Browse Tag


Shameless Husseys

Buitenverwachting 2010 Sauvignon Blanc “Husseys Vlei” (Constantia) – Wow, is this good. The most interesting sauvignon blanc I’ve had this year that wasn’t made by Vatan. Crisp, intense, poised and nervous, with a brittle streak of steely minerality and vast textural impact…that texture being one riddled with nails, shards, spikes, and edges. (11/10)


Klein Constantia 2007 Riesling (Constantia) – Intense but not delivering on all its promises. Chalky minerals and sun-heated whitewash, very dry “fruit” remnants, a fair bit of weight, and good structure. But it doesn’t go much of anywhere. (4/10)

MCC hammer

Constantia Uitsig 2005 Méthode Cap Classique Brut Blanc de Blancs (Constantia) – Highly polished, and presenting itself with sophistication rather than ego. Clean, dry lemon forms a tight cylindrical core, around which are layers of delicate foil that don’t obscure transparency. Finely-beaded and quite impressive. Still, what I’d really love to do is revisit this after a few years, because it’s very primary. (11/08)

Constance craving

[bottle]Klein Constantia 2004 “Vin de Constance” (Constantia) – Pretty. Sweet, classic muscat with a bronzed quality. (Almost) very good, but the finish is abrupt. Doesn’t live up to its legend. (11/08)

Paper late

Constantia Uitsig “Noble Late Harvest” (Constantia) – Light and pretty, showing sweet apples still shaded by their leaves. The finish is of reasonable length, though there’s not a great deal of complexity. (11/08)

Cape crusaders

[lone penguin]Unfortunately, this most lavish of landscapes is also an armed camp. Beyond the usual “armed response” security signs nailed to every home and business, the greatest of the estates seem to bristle with defenses. I have already seen far more razor wire than I care to, which in otherwise beautiful locales is particularly jarring, but here are added fiercely-armed guards that glower at each passerby.

I don’t exaggerate. On the drive towards an interior building at one famous Constantia winery, we cruise down a beautiful vineyard road, admiring the signs designating each block of grapes, while keeping an eye on the quarter-dozen machine-gun-toting, flak-jacketed, paramilitary soldiers that patrol it. It’s a very disconcerting site. On the other hand, I’ve never eaten on a military base before…

…continued here.

Constance craving

[bottle]Klein Constantia 2004 “Vin de Constance” (Constantia) – A dessert wine of vine-desiccated muscat de Frontignan (a/k/a muscat blanc à petits grains), and a wine that made South Africa’s worldwide wine reputation well over a century ago. Klein Constantia is part of the country’s original wine estate, dating back to the late 1600s, and in its current incarnation has resurrected the style and the name. But not, I fear, the quality that made the reputation (though I wasn’t around in the 1800s and thus can’t really know for sure). The nose is gorgeous and openly muscatty, with additional complexities in the form of cooked apple, spiced plum, cinnamon, and nutmeg. But as it turns juicy on the palate, it thins, and the finish is wan and disappointing. Good, but decidedly not great, and much more fun to sniff than to sip. (11/08)

Re(a)d all over

[glass]Signal Hill 2006 Rosé de Saignée Blanc de Noir (Constantia) – Sources differ on what this is made from. Some say petit verdot, while the usually definitive Platter’s Guide has it as shiraz with pinot noir and cabernet franc. But I’m going to go with the winery’s web site, which says it’s cab franc. If it was no good, it wouldn’t matter…but it is. Very flavorful, with dark strawberry and cherry, hints of blacker fruit, and a good layer of spice (but not of wood). Casts a significant shadow. Wavy and delicious. The winery claims aging potential, and I wouldn’t bet against it. (11/08)

The Rhine of the ancient mariner

[vineyard]Buitenverwachting 2005 Rhine Riesling (Constantia) – A dry, windswept plain of stark minerality, or perhaps like drinking plate glass. With such an endless (but featureless) horizon, I’d like a little more persistence on the finish, but this is a pretty good wine anyway, and there would seem to be potential. (5/08)