Words and photographs by Mercia McShane & Anthony Thomas.
Hidden in the saddle and ringed by the Constantiaberg mountains in Cape Town, sits the lovely boutique winery of Constantia Glen. The drive to the winery, whether from the False Bay side, or from the Atlantic side over ‘the nek’ (Constantia Nek Road) offers a winding mountain road with beautiful scenery. I have often driven this scenic route, but not once suspected I was driving right past such a venue.
Once on the estate we drove along a brick road that curved up the grass carpeted hill toward the tasting venue anticipating our first view of the vineyards. To my absolute delight we encountered a small flock of sheep complete with a dozen newborn lambs. Despite being part of the suburb of Constantia, this charming introduction certainly reinforced the rural feel of this working farm.
Situated on the slopes amongst the vines, the wine tasting building itself is the old original farm dairy. Tasting takes place on the long stoep (veranda) running along the length of the building, covered by a lovely curved iron roof tied by ‘broekie lace’ to cast iron pillars. The lush grass at the foot of the veranda, a short distance from the vineyard itself, is very inviting, so much so that large pillows are supplied for those that really want to ‘kick back’ and relax on their wine tasting.
Influenced by the exceptional cool climate of its locality, Constantia Glen has produced multi award winning wines, courtesy of winemaker Justin van Wyk. The easily accessible lovely setting, delicious platters and excellent wines ensure that now discovered, Constantia Glen can expect regular visits.
For a modest fee one could taste 6 of their delectable wines. My personal favourites were the Rose’ and the Constantia Glen three, a classic blend of the three Bordeaux varieties– Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot. The Constantia Glen five, being their flagship is a blend of five varieties – Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot. I found both white wines crisp and fresh with tropical fruit flavours combined with a savoury earthiness. I am looking forward to going back on a warm summers evening to enjoy their classically styled Sauvignon Blanc. The relatively new Saddle range are easy drinking wines rich, soft smooth wine to the taste and all are available exclusively at the tasting room.
Whilst Constantia Glen is not a restaurant, they do offer a small range of excellent platters that compliment the wine tasting. From the range of cheeses to the trio of fine sliced meat, nearly the entire selection of delights are sourced from local farms. We were lucky to be able to enjoy a creamy new Feta cheese mix, and were surprised to discover that the delicate jam was another innovate little touch, produced from the Merlot grapes on the farm. Missing out on one of these platters would be a totally unnecessary hardship!
Our host Gillian was friendly very knowledgeable, and her passion for the venue & the wine very evident, one of the few personalised wine tastings that left one wanting to know more not only about the wine, but about the history of the land and the family that own it. I will most certainly be back.
They are open weekdays from 10h00 – 17h00. Saturdays and Sundays from 10h00 – 16h00. Contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information and bookings.