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