Thu, Dec 10, 2009
Flanked by the Table Mountain National Park on either side, Constantia Valley is positioned in the heart of the isthmus of Cape Town, which is just 20 minutes away from Cape Town. This vicinity is known as the origin of wine farming in the country of South Africa. The awe-inspiring vistas of this vale where protracted vineyards reaches up to the peaks is quite inimitable in today’s congested and teeming earth.
For those who are still wondering what Constantia is, it is a series of five ravines – Groot Constantia, Klein Constantia, Buitenverwachting, Constantia Uitsig, and Steenberg. While traveling toward Cape Town, you will encounter each of these in a row.
Along with its common practice of producing universal wine, it also serves the saccharine dessert wine of Constantia. Is it famous? It is so renowned that Napoleon stored it in its cellar, Jane Austin inscribe about the taste of this wine, and Queen Victoria asked for a glass full of ‘sweet Constantia’ every night post dinner. A similar kind of wine known as ‘Vin de Constance’ is now being produced in Klein Constantia.
It is believed that this locality got its name from the last daughter, Constanza, of its first Governor, Simon Van der Stel. However, now the entire terrain is known as Constantia. The area that is now Groot Constantia was once his wine farm. This was during early 1700’s.
This wine producing area has an extremely pleasurable climate for both wine production and visitors. The source of chilly, clammy breeze is the vast expanse of False Bay located nearby. The daytime here is generally filled with such breezes and the surrounding peaks reduce the intensity of heat reaching the ground. The relative clamminess is further supported by nocturnal condensation which generally leads to occurrence of ‘Botrytis’. This is a native term used to describe the decaying of plants and fruits which is used to extract the famous dessert wine. The helping hand offered by the climate is further extended to assist the terrain in flourishing.
The dawn evaporates the minute drops of dew sprinkled on the fruits and plants due to the frosty climate. This evaporation process aids in preventing any disease to spread. Further, the land doesn’t need any irrigation facility because the annual rainfall is adequate for any level of agriculture.
However, the Constantia cannot be termed as a freezing location. It costumes assortment of both red and white variety of wines.
The vegetation of Cabernet Sauvignon is sowed on the foot of the peaks where the daylight hours are more than the other parts of the country. The production of red wines done at Constantia is a blend with fine berries, taut tannins, and a cool weather. This elegant wine generally has alcohol level of 14-15%.
Maturation of Buitenverwachting red is done in French oaks and are stored for more than five years before taken out for wine production. This helps Constantia to produce an elegant and luscious taste. Similarly, the reds from Constantia Uitsigs are made from luxuriant full-grown fruit and squashy, smooth tannins.
A drive through the gorgeous, bottomless ravines of Constantia and the mauve aroma will help you comprehend why millions of people are allured every year to this interior part of South Africa. The quality of wine produced here is still as immaculate and unadulterated as it was during early 18th Century when the natives started establishing wineries in this vicinity.