Lunching in someone else’s vineyard is a delightful experience. You get to admire the view, the rows of vines laid out with geometric precision, a decent meal – and a lecture on wine economics from your host. The gist of the lecture usually is – “if you are thinking of buying a vineyard, don’t!”
Taking advantage of the first day of spring in South Africa I snuck out to lunch at the Constantia Glen vineyard just outside Cape Town. It’s close enough to Cape Town to escape for lunch, without sacrificing the entire day to drinking wine (perish the thought!)
Constantia Glen makes about 250,000 cases of wine a year which makes them a boutique producer. As a result their wines rarely make it out of the country. Tasting a flight I was particularly taken by their 2015 Constantia Glen TWO white wine – a blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Sémillon, which combines oak and tropical fruit flavours. The 2012 Constantia Glen FIVE red is also an easily drinkable wine. The nomenclature refers to the number of varietals in each wine. The FIVE is a blend of five Bordeaux varietals – Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot. Both wines were tasty enough to justify buying a couple of cases for my cellar.
There are many delightful vineyards around Cape Town serving eminently quaffable wines. What makes Constantia Glen special is the quality of the food. Flamkuchen, an Alsatian flat bread baked with fromage blanc, thinly sliced onions and other toppings is pizza like enough to satisfy any yearning for comfort food, yet is light and easy on the stomach. We had ours with locally produced speck (a fancy word for pork fat). The salads, with home made feta cheese, artichoke hearts, crunchy salad leaves and garden fresh tomatoes are tasty that even the pictures make my mouth water. Who knew that simple greens could taste this good?
This is fresh, well made food, not a fine dining experience. The wine is similarly good, but you won’t be drinking the finest wines in the world. It is just an extremely pleasant way to spend a few hours enjoying someone else’s vineyard. And that is no bad thing.