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Constantia Glen Sauvignon Blanc 2007

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Reasons to visit Constantia Glen.
Reasons to visit Constantia Glen.

Yesterday a vertical tasting of of all six vintages to date of Constantia Glen Sauvignon Blanc followed by lunch to mark the opening of the property’s new tasting room.

The tasting was hosted by winemaker Karl Lambour and consultant Dominique Hebrard, previously of famed St-Emilion property Cheval Blanc and now of Bellefont-Belcier.

There are some 30ha of vineyard planted on this property situated just below Constantia Neck, of which just under 10ha are Sauvignon Blanc: four clones on two different rootstocks, plantings undertaken between 1999 and 2001.

Maiden vintage 2005 and 2006 were made by John Loubser at Steenberg, Lambour and Hebrard becoming involved from the 2007 vintage. Significantly, these first two wines saw the use of ascorbic acid, something commonly added to prevent oxidation during the winemaking process but potentially compromising ageability. From 2007, Lambour dispensed with this practice.

My tasting notes and scores:

2005 – Yellow, brown tinge. Asparagus on nose and palate. Rich and full, lots of developed character. Long finish. Score: 15/20.

2006 – Yellow, brown tinge. Neutral on nose and palate. Very developed, dull. Score: 14/20.

2007 – Pale yellow. Pleasantly herbaceous on the nose. Well balanced palate with juicy fruit and fresh acidity. Lime fruit and just a hint of bruised apple secondary character. Almost saline finish. Score; 17/20.

2008. – V. pale. Reductive on the nose. Lime fruit and bright, almost tart acidity. Light bodied and rather austere. Score: 15.5/20.

2009 – Pale. Greater spectrum of aroma and flavour from grassy through citrus to tropical fruit. Rich and full but well balanced. Mouthwatering acidity, not at all hard or sharp. Score: 16/20.

2010 – V. pale. Gunpowder note on nose. Very primary on palate but shows great fruit purity, freshness. Great potential. Score: 16/20.

Lambour and Hebrard are pre-occupied with achieving “mouthfeel”, and incorporate various methods to achieve this: a portion of the wine fermented in old 600-litre barrels, the addition of Semillon from the 2008 vintage and extended lees contact. “Flavour intensity is a given in Constantia but great wine is about texture,” says Lambour.

Regarding the use of Semillon, it has only featured in minute quantities to date (5% in 2008, 8% in 2009 and 13% in 2010) and Hebrard is sceptical of its value past a certain point: “Semillon tends to make big, dull , wines, the dessert wines of Sauternes being the obvious exception. Sauvignon Blanc is much more capable of greatness. Constantia Glen must be about elegance, finesse, minerality and freshness.”

Both the 2008 and 2009 are available from the tasting room, were assistant Nadine Otto will sell you the 2008  for  R50 a bottle if you take a case of six (price for a single bottle: R75). The 2009, meanwhile, goes for R100 a bottle.

For a previous post on Constantia Glen, see here.

3 COMMENTS

  1. I think SA’s Semillons age fantastically: http://www.grape.co.za/users/open_space/blog/2009-10-21-pleasures_drinking_mature_semillon.html
    Had a 2003 Nitida Semillon and 2001 Cape Point Semillon on Saturday – sublime!! Often coming from older vinyards and given a bit of wood, I think that our good Semillons generally outlast most of our good Sauvignons – exceptions like 1986 Klein Constantia Sauvignon Blanc tend to prove the rule. But then the 1997 Klein Constantia Semillon still drinks fantastically now…
    De gustibus non est disputandum!

  2. My wife and I recently visited the farm and had a tasting which in the surroundings was really pleasant. We so enjoyed the wine we walked away with a 6 bottle case of the 2009 Sauvignon Blanc. 3 of the bottles we took out with us on seperate dining occasions and they were as great as we experienced on the farm. This past weekend while away from home we decided to open the forth to enjoy with a couple of wes-kus kreef. To our dissapointment it tasted really bad, not sure if it was cork, oxidation or something else but I quickly opend another bottle and had the same experience and with fingers crossed we opened the 3rd and last. And, same as the previous 2. Very dissapointed we opened a good old faithful – Springfield Life From Stone. Kreef and the latter were a match made in heaven.

  3. Hi Bruce, I have just seen this comment and would like to replace your three bottles immediately and offer our apology. Please contact me at karl@constantiaglen.com so that we can rectify the unfortunate problem. Kind regards,

    Karl Lambour.

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