The grapes to produce Merlot Constantia Groot Constantia were picked when fully ripe and fermented in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks. The wine was pumped over every four hours, during the first half of the fermentation, to extract good levels of colour, flavour and fine tannins. Merlot Constantia Groot Constantia was matured for 18 months in 225 litre barrels of which 61% was new French oak 10% was second passage and 29% was third passage barrels.
The vineyards are located on the steep valley on the eastern side of Table Mountain. The grapes come predominantly from a block that varies between 67 and 95 metres above sea level, on slopes that are south to southeast facing. The climate is Mediterranean with cooling breezes from the Atlantic Ocean encouraging balance and complexity in the grapes. The average rainfall is approximately 1,100mm per annum. The soils are Clovelly and Glenrosa- a gravelly soil with low fertility. The climate, combined with the cool southern slopes and deep mountain soils provide the ideal setting for the production of this top quality wine.
Groot Constantia is South Africa’s oldest estate and one of South Africa’s most visited tourist attractions. In 1685 Cape Governor Simon van der Stel built a farm in the foothills of Table Mountain, which he named Constantia. The winery received world acclaim from Napoleon, Bismarck and King Louis Philippe of France who was the biggest single buyer of Groot Constantia wines. They had to sell to the Cape government after phylloxera ravaged the vineyards. Now, the total estate covers 165 hectares of which 87 hectares are planted, at an altitude of 60 to 280 metres above sea level. The climate is generally cool resulting in complex and balanced wines.