{eat} Mountain gazing and wine grazing: lunch time at Constantia Glen

Being the closest wine route to my home, Constantia valley boasts with some of the most picturesque wine estates, including the unsurpassable splendour of Constantia Glen.

Introduction

With a string of stunning eateries, contemporary tasting rooms and plenty of opportunities to enjoy a lazy wine-soaked weekend in a lush gardenscape, the Constantia wine valley caters for all tastes.

Every time I think I’ve exhausted food and wine experiences in this lush valley, another one takes me by surprise. The Tall Hedonist and I were recently invited to mountain gaze and wine graze over lunch at Constantia Glen, one of the few wine estates in the area I’ve not yet visited.

Eternally curious about new places, we gratefully accepted the invite and decided it would be a very fitting way to end a busy week. I mean, wine and Sunday afternoons are synonymous after all, right?

Background

The magnificently appointed wine estate on the upper reaches of the Constantiaberg, is one of the jewels of the Constantia Valley, home of South African wine with a proud winemaking history dating back to 1685, when Simon van der Stel first made wine on his farm called Constantia. After van der Stel’s death in 1712, the Constantia farm was split into three properties known today as Groot Constantia, Klein Constantia and Buitenverwachting.

The estate has a unique position cradled between the Constantiaberg and Table Mountain ranges, with predominantly north-east facing slopes (website).

The venue

We arrived just in time for Sunday lunch, and were delighted when we were showed to our shaded table outside. It looked out over hills and dales of blue-green vineyards, framed by the bluest sky filled with fluffy wisps of cloud. A perfect wind-still day, the valley has never looked more beautiful.

Except for a cluster of al-fresco tables at the entrance, Constantia Glen also offers several different dining areas. Choose from a more intimate patio experience, cosy manor house-style rooms or a second shaded courtyard adjacent to the vines. You could even take a seat right in the heart of the ultra-modern tasting room, surrounded by beautiful art pieces and a full wine bar.

Tastefully draped with potted plants and artistic accent pieces, Constantia Glen is every bit as pretty as it’s indulgent. An eternal glimpse of summer,  I was ready to kick back and surrender to the arms of a wine country reprieve.

Wine tasting

Completely unfamiliar with Constantia Glen wines (I’m admitting this with a head hanging in shame!), Tim and I opted to share their Full House Tasting, so that we could get an overall feel of their portfolio. At R125 for seven wines, it’s a great way to get to know the estate’s offerings.

Brandon poured our tastings tableside, and chatted us through the different ranges. He split the tasting into whites and reds, giving us ample time to sip, savour and mountain gaze as we introduced ourselves to their wines. Of the whites, I would recommend you spend some time in the company of the Constantia Glen TWO, a seductive blend of barrel-fermented Sauvignon Blanc and Sémillon. The 2020 Constantia Saddle Rosé was the most perfect wine for me to swirl against the saturated backdrop of vines, accentuating its delicate rosey blush.

Starters & Mains

We couldn’t sip without snacking, so we ordered a Biltong & Droëwors platter to share, served with a baguette, smoked rooibos butter and a tangy pepper pâté. In that moment I was intensely content, with a flight of red wines, shimmering ruby diamonds in the sun, waiting for me to explore. The 2018 Constantia Saddle Red was a surprising delight, but our hearts were set on the 2017 Constantia Glen THREE.

For mains, I opted for the Seared Tuna Nicoise. With three fish dishes on the small menu, it only felt right to order something from the sea. Tim followed suit and decided on the Kingklip in Beer Batter, which I was also very curious about.

At this point, we asked Brandon to chose our main course wine for us, because we simply couldn’t chose one wine over the other. He came back after a few minutes, with a bottle yet unseen. Carefully paired  and selected to complement our mains, he offered us a tasting of the Van Wyk Family Wines Skin-fermented White 2019. With my nose deep in the glass, the aroma was deliciously intoxicating, and the first sip a moment I’ll happily relive a few more times if I could. A superb expression of a Cape White blend, this handcrafted wine by Justin van Wyk seemed like the perfect fit to our mains. It almost instantaneously secured a well-deserved spot in my top five white blends of all times.

Our lunch plates were generously portioned, fresh, bright and vibrantly tasty, and we ate every last morsel, as we continued to soak in the views and wine. Our backs turned to the mid-afternoon sun, it felt as if time stood still in the Garden of Eden.

A sweet ending

A little while later, as we slowly swirled our new favourite wine in our glasses, Brandon convinced us that we do, indeed, have space for dessert. We shared the chocolate fondant with lots of slow-motion, chocolate-oozing videos before we dug into the dark and divine cavity of this molten lava pudding. The homemade crème frâiche ice-cream is reason enough to visit Constantia Glen.

In conclusion

If you have not had the absolute pleasure of mountain gazing and wine grazing at Constantia Glen, make sure you take full advantage of these last few lazy autumn days to soak up the splendour of all this valley has to offer.

Suitably laid-back, but beautifully luxurious, Constantia Glen is the perfect combination of casual-chic wining and dining. Coupled with five star service, award winning wines and a setting that will leave non-Capetonians a little green for all that they’re missing, it’s a highly recommended visit to pencil into your wine diary.

Thank you so much, Constantia Glen, for spoiling us with a few hours of utter joyous escape, with only the mountain, splendid wines and gorgeous plates to keep us company!

Second photographer: The Tall Hedonist, aka Timothy P. Gibson

The Little Hedonist has made every effort to ensure that the information in this post was correct at the time of publication. However, I do not assume any liability caused by errors, such as price, menu changes, opening times, and contact details.

Disclaimer: I was invited to this event in my personal capacity. There was no expectation for platform coverage in the form of a blog, or social media posts. This is my honest and truthful opinion and review thereof. All thoughts and opinions expressed herein are solely those of The Little Hedonist, given in good faith and in no way influenced by the company or its affiliates. All images, unless otherwise stated/credited, are also my own.

The Little Hedonist endorses responsible drinking.
Don’t drink and drive. Not for persons under 18.

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