Wednesday, April 8, 2009

GROOT KONSTANTIA . Sunday Visit March 15th, 2009 , 5 PM with John Morrison Of Boutique Vineayrds Imports, South Africa

There are at least three or four really good stories here to tell and I will tomorrow morning when I get up bright and fresh and totally inspired. For the moment it is 11:46 PM here at home in northern Virginia on Wednesday, April 8th, 2009 and I'm headed to bed after I post these pictures. I really like some of these pictures that I took and I want to get them out there in cyber space right now. I hope you like them as much as I do.

Stay-tuned for the stories tomorrow morning. John Morrison and I went to GROOT CONSTANTIA at just after 5 PM on Sunday March 15, 2009 and we had a blast. It was a grand start! Cheers John! TONY

P.S I'm returning fresh this Thursday Morning, April 9th, 2009 here at home now in northern, Virginia at 9:21 AM. I've just found my notes from John and my visit to GROOT CONSTANTIA. That's always good as it is hard to remember so many details as I visited one winery after another.

The most single important part about this visit and what made it a real eye-opener and pleasure for me was Allison Murray. She was our gracious, professional, observant and attentive hostess at the tasting bar.

WE arrived after 5 PM and John and I went up to the tasting bar to inquire how it worked? Allison started to explain immediately the three or so options. I asked about just a glass ? She responded that a glass or two was on the house. John got a call I believe so he moved away for better reception and I told Allison that I had just come all the way from Washington D.C. just to visit the wine country and that I managed the wine department at Cleveland Park Wines & Spirits ( 3423 Connecticut Avenue N.W. Washington D.C. 20008 Tel : 202-363-4265 ). As I told her this I gave her one of my cards and she smiled immediately and said simply something like " Well that changes everything. What would you like to taste? " . John returned and Allison proceeded to move us through a fabulous and complete tasting of everything at hand there except the bubbly. It was a grand event and I loved it as it was my first tasting there in South Africa : and, after all, GROOT CONSTANTIA was the very first winery ever in the whole of the world's southern hemisphere. Talk about history! Talk about the weight of the world's history on the shoulders of this winery!

Alison could not say enough positive things about GROOT CONSTANTIA'S winemaker! I liked that, she was proud and eager of him and the winery to really promote with enthusiasm and sincerity all of this. That's important. It was not just a line, a speech : she believed it and you could here it in her voice.

She told me how she knew America because she had lived there in Philadelphia( Calfont ) many years ago with her husband John I believe. I liked that story, too.

WE started with the Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon white blend 2008 , the Sauvignon Blanc 2008 and continued on with the Gouverneurs Chardonnay 2007, the Blanc de Noir 2008 rose, the Pinotage 2007 ( not for tasting ), the Merlot 2008, the Shiraz 2006, the 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon, the 2006 Gouverneurs Shiraz ( not for tasting ), the Constantia Rood 2005 ( not for tasting ), the Shiraz 2005 ( not for tasting ) and the Grand Constance 2007 ( not for tasting ) and the Port 2006. As you can see from this list Allison took really good care of John and me. Thanks Allison. And by and large I liked everything that I tasted and got really excited about some of them. Everything was well-made and balanced : some just appealed a whole lot more to my classic palate.

The other tasters/ pourers were young 21 year-old John Polgeiter and German Traudl the German tour guide. All three were behind the tasting bar now helping people.

I spied Breda O'Reilly ( Irish ) next to John and could not resist taking her picture through the GROOT CONSTANTIA glass. She was tasting with Owen of New York and he joined her presently. I took a picture of them also through the glass. They were good sports. I told Breda that I could not resist taking a picture of such a beautiful lady and hoped she did not mind? She did not and smiled. We spoke briefly before we each returned to our tastings.

I told Alison that I had sold some of the GROOT CONSTANTIA wines at Cleveland Park in the past but nothing recently. She said that she would give my card to someone there and that they would contact me. I have not heard anything yet. After this tasting I would be delighted to bring some of the wines back to Cleveland Park. Just have someone call or email me at the store :, 202-363-4265.

For more technical info about GROOT CONSTANTIA go to : and or call : Tel : (021_794 5128.

There was an art exhibit going on in this big space ( Curator Joshua Rossouw, I believe ) and rossouwmodern@groot constantia. I liked it. You can see some here in the pictures.

Cheers to you all, good work, keep it up. And thanks John for taking me here. I know you do not represent it in the US but I am really glad to have seen it and tasted here with you and Alison Murray. TONY

This was John Morrison and my first wine-tasting of our trip to South Africa from March 15th-March 22, 2009 : and it was a great way to ease really beautifully into the whole , wonderful, absorbing experience!

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