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Groot Constantia Gouverneurs Reserve 2005

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Dear Me owner Ilze Koekemoer and chef Vanessa Marx.
Dear Me owner Ilze Koekemoer and chef Vanessa Marx.

Last night a six-course dinner with Groot Constantia wines courtesy of Dear Me in Longmarket Street, Cape Town. Lots of great food and wine combinations but the highlight was the braised free-range beef cheek and sweetbreads with bourguignon sauce, barley risotto and bone marrow paired with two vintages of the Bordeaux-style red Gouverneurs Reserve, the 2005 and 2010.

“We get so much rain in Constantia we measure it in metres not millimetres,” says winemaker Boela Gerber (an average of 1 400mm a year to be specific). This makes Cabernet Sauvignon marginal – late-ripening, it can often end up green as the cold and wet of winter sets in.

Whereas Gerber used to lead with Cab (the 2005 a blend of 57% Cab, 25% Merlot, 13% Cab Franc and 5% Malbec), he’s subsequently decided to favour Cabernet Franc (the 2010 a blend of 37% Cab Franc, 33% Merlot, 23% Cab and 7% Malbec).

However difficult Cab might be to work with in Constantia, the 2005 was pretty smart. Red and black fruit and a touch of oyster shell. Full bodied, pure fruited and fresh. Not entirely primary any more but sure to provide good drinking pleasure for at least another five years.

Score: 91/100.

The 2010, by contrast, much less classical in conception. Ripe berry fruit but also an herbaceous edge, soft textured with moderate acidity.

Score: 87/100.

Gerber would no doubt argue that it is beholden on him to move with the times but I liked the austerity of the 2005, especially in contrast to the decadence which was on the plate.

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