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November 06, 2013

Wine canapés and French words in Cape Town’s Constantia Winelands

Editor’s Note: This blog was first published on www.capetowndiva.blogspot.com on Tuesday 5 November, 2013.

Enjoying the Cecily viognier.

And there's me thinking I'd seen all the beautiful wine farms this amazing city of Cape Town has to offer. Think again Diva. Beau Constantia est arrivé (by the way, when I see French words like ‘beau’ and ‘pas de nom’, I can’t help but throw my French about a bit).  

Beau Constantia is a 'newly' established boutique vineyard (2003), that is exceptionally appointed, not just as far as the lay of the land is concerned, but the building where we were hosted) designed by Jon Jacobson, is a masterpiece of minimalist design-meets-modern architecture, and it set the scene for an all-encompassing and fabulous experience: food, wine, good company and sweeping views of the terraced valley, with the blue Helderberg mountains as the backdrop -  jaw dropping stuff. 

On Sunday 3 November, 2013, together with a fabulous group of fellow bloggers, I was shuttled, courtesy of Constantia Wine Tours, to the estate, situated on steep slopes 350m above sea level. Consulting chef Tjaart Walraven and the BC team gave us a true Capetonian warm welcome and over a glass of the award winning Cecily Viognier, he explained the wine and canapé pairings that are being introduced for the coming festive season.

Sunday’s offering showcased Asian, Mexican and South African inspired fare and the wines chosen, created by winemaker Justin van Wyk (round of applause here) were excellent. I particularly loved the pea and ginger shooter with sesame crumble (Asian), paired with the Pas de Nom (more lovely French words) White (2013); the Machacha shredded beef stew (Mexican), paired with the Beau Constantia Lucca (2011) and the tres leches cake with dried mango cream that went beautifully with the Beau Constantia Aidan (2011).

Leaving the proudly SA moment for the last, the roast spiced butternut soup and popcorn crust was amazing, matched with the Pas de Nom Red (2010). The koeksister, one of my fave sweet treats, was a fitting finale to that tray of SA canapés and the Pas de Nom Rose (2013) complemented it so well.

I loved the story about Oom Japie Bronn who hails originally from Robertson and is the Beau Constantia farm manager. He has been developing vineyards around Constantia and Cape Point for just over 35 years and is known as the 'silent legend' - it is his face that is captured on the Pas de Nom wine label.

After devastating fires in 2000, the slopes at Beau Constantia were cleared and terraced for the planting of vineyards. Pierre and Cecily Du Preez (the lady for whom the superb Cecily Viognier is named) purchased the 22 hectare property in 2002 and the first vineyards were planted in 2003. Constantia itself is the oldest wine growing region in Southern Africa - some of the estates like Steenberg began operating as far back as 1682.

The valley, famed for its beauty, stretches from the Wynberg hill in the north to the Silvermine mountains in the south - it's only minutes from the CBD -a rural retreat away from the hustle and bustle of city-life.

These are a few of my tantalizing images of the day:

Wines ready for tasting.

The Asian canapes...the pea and ginger shooter was particularly more-ish.

South African inspired canapes: Cape Malay pickled fish, roast spiced butternut soup and popcorn crust, boerewors bredie (stew), smoked beef, crisp chip stack, tomato peach chutney and a koeksister (traditional SA doughnut prepared in copious amounts of syrup)...

Vineyards, proteas and mountains as you pull up to the entrance at Beau Constantia in Cape Town.

For more information about Beau Constantia , please call  +27 21 794 8632 ,email winesales@beauconstantia.com,  visit  or follow the conversation on Twitter.

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