Beau Constantia, Stella 2020
If you’ve ever been to Cape Town, Beau Constantia likely needs no introduction to you. The view from the property, situated as high as possible on the Constantia Nek, is unmatched, it is home to one of the finest restaurants on the African continent and it makes drool worthy wines. What is not to love?
The Stella is the pinnacle of the estates ‘family range’ of wines and is named for the late matriarch of the Du Preez family, who own the estate.
Megan van der Merwe, the brilliant young winemaker at Beau Constantia, set out to make the Stella with ‘the absolute intention to preserve the site that grew the fruit’. The Syrah and Viognier for this wine grow side by side on one of the farm’s lower lying slopes – both varietals are picked together, when the Syrah is ripe, meaning that the Viognier hangs on the vine until it is a little raisined, adding a rich honey-like component to the wine. 18 months in French oak (only 28% new) adds complexity to the wine.
Floral notes of violet, spicy black pepper, dried herbs and fresh red fruit – cherry and pomegranate – are held together by savoury fine tannin. Epic!
Shiraz / Syrah
99.5% SYRAH. A SPLASH OF VIOGNIER.
by Winemaker Megan van der Merwe
The time leading up to the 2020 harvest was governed by fluctuating climatic factors, the biggest two being rain and wind. Flowering and set were both an improvement on the previous season with Spring 2019 being warmer on average, leading to earlier than normal and even budbreak, a potential head start to a season that would be longer. Though Spring was warmer than usual, it came coupled with September winds like we have never seen.
With the heat and wind came rainfall — leading to rapid vineyard growth and the need to closely manage fungal diseases, weeds and vineyard canopies. October was moderate with good set, but a mostly warm and windy November led to vines growing at an even faster rate, which meant our team had to re-apply the same canopy management protocols three times over.
Veraison was about a week early. After February, the summer growing conditions were cool and moderate with nerve wracking amounts of morning mist and high levels of humidity forcing us to sample as often as possible, practise patience, completely reverse block orders for pickings, picking in smaller batches than before, yet eventually getting the grapes into the cellar at the optimum ripeness, HEALTHY.
The 2020 STELLA is made with the absolute intention to preserve the site that grew the fruit. The bunches were hand-picked from a small parcel of our lower lying slopes where Syrah and Viognier grow side by side. Picked with the spicy Syrah, the Viognier is golden and slightly raisined by the extended hang-time, almost honey-like. They are bunch-sorted in the block and again in the cellar as they make their way to the tank 52.5% whole bunch. Natural fermentation started 4 days after a cold-soak and grapes remained on their skins and stems for 5 days post fermentation. They were then pressed to 225L French oak barriques of which 28% were new and the remainder 5 to 6 years old. STELLA was allowed to mature on the lees for 18 months prior to bottling. Enjoy with simple Ostrich Carpaccio covered in all kinds of Umami – try truffle, pecorino, honey or/and Dijon mustard with good quality, local, Olive oil.
TA 5.0 g/l
Derived directly from Latin, the word “stella” meaning star, this wine is a fitting tribute to our deceased mother who will remain a guide and shining light in the Du Preez family as we try to emulate her joie de vivre.
Shiraz / Syrah
Carpaccio covered in truffle and parmesan or dijon mustard.