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)
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)
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…