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South Africa’s first varietal-based wine route

At the tip of a continent, at the birthplace of winemaking in the Southern Hemisphere, the Constantia Wine Route is proud to launch a South African first – a varietal-based wine route. At this elegant confluence of ancient soils and a unique microclimate comes a celebration of the noble Sauvignon Blanc. The brand new Constantia Sauvignon Blanc Route will be available at six estates across the Constantia Wine Route: Steenberg, Buitenverwachting, Klein Constantia, Groot Constantia, Constantia Glen, Beau Constantia.  Silvermist & Constantia Royale are available by appointment only and Eagles Nest will have their first Wine of Origin Constantia Sauvignon Blanc with the release of the 2021 harvest. The spectrum of tasting experiences and settings on offer highlight the rich diversity of the valley, from decades-old properties steeped in history, to modern estates also producing world-class wine. The route gives visitors not only the opportunity to taste an array of expressions of Sauvignon Blanc but also to hear from a variety of voices and personalities that make up the Constantia Valley. I had the pleasure of tasting my way through the route and experiencing first-hand what it had to offer. Here are some of the highlights and recommendations:
  • Klein Constantia – this historic estate produces over 11 expressions of Sauvignon Blanc. Include a farm tour with your visit – the 4×4 ride circles the estate and offers panoramic views of the valley
  • Constantia Glen – from the tasting room languish away the day with vintage Sauvignon Blancs – including a 10-year-old – but book early to avoid disappointment as the spot is a favourite with locals
  • Groot Constantia – the estate where it all began in 1685 won the top spot at the International Sauvignon Blanc Trophy at the 2020 International Wine Challenge (IWC) – and also has a newly renovated tasting room to enjoy the wines in
  • Constantia Royale – the newest kid on the oldest wine-producing block offers tastings by appointment only and if you’re a lucky a sip or to of Don’s reserve – a wonderfully wooded Sauvignon Blanc
  • Silvermist –this estate is the valley’s 100% certified organic estate. Tastings are by appointment – request that the entertaining winemaker Greg conducts the tasting in the Kraal for an unforgettable experience
  • Beau Constantia – from the modern glass-fronted tasting room take in sublime views of the valley while drinking the high altitude Sauvignon Blanc. On the bottom story below, Chef’s Warehouse is one of South Africa’s top 10 restaurants
  • Steenberg – known as the bubbly producer of the valley, the estate also serves up award-winning Sauvignon Blancs and enticing meals at the adjacent Bistro 1682
  • Wade Bales – acting as a negoçiant, Wade plays a key role in the valley and was instrumental in producing the Constantia White – a Bordeaux-styled white blend from almost all the estates in the valley

Where to stay: The Alphen Boutique Hotel Of course, with all the wine tastings available, it’s best to stay a night or two in a local hotel. For a perfect pairing with the Constanta wine estates, you simply can’t beat a staycation at the elegant Alphen Boutique Hotel. Minutes away from the vineyards this grand dame offers the chance for stylish downtime in-between tastings. The hotel dates to 1753 and was originally part of the Groot Constantia Estate. For over 250 years the who’s who of society have turned to the Alphen for luxury. And if the plush rooms are not a haven enough for you, the extensive manicured gardens provide a lush sanctuary. For fuelling up after a day of tasting the Alphen has you covered. Incognito is a trendy bar offering live music Friday and Saturday evenings, Blanko serves sophisticated dining in chic surrounds, and La Belle Bistro is a favourite local café with irresistible treats.

Jared Ruttenberg

Jared Ruttenberg is a freelance travel journalist who enjoys connecting people and experiences through word, image and social media. Read more at www.jaredincpt.com

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  1. Over lockdown we’ve had time to think about the wine that we’ve been buying and drinking. I predict that next travellers will want to go and see where their wines come from. And they’re also going to want space and freedom and fresh air. My hunch is that wine-routes will be a winner for the next couple of months.

    1. I think you’re spot on – more experiential – which will then also lead to longer and more meaningful relationships with the estates themsenves. I hope you’ll get to try this route one day Tom!

  2. Sounds a perfect wine route for me. I live on Sauvignon Blanc. I never can understand all this fuss over Prosecco, I prefer a real wine.

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