A cool ripening season allows for gentle and slow ripening of the grapes, and this leads to greater complexity of flavour precursors in the grapes, as well as good acidity at the time of picking. The resulting wines are elegant and fresh with bright aromatics. 2019 was a particularly cool vintage at Constantia Glen, with slow ripening that allowed for the slow accumulation of sugars, and excellent tannin development. This meant that during vinification we could work with grapes that had achieved good phenolic ripeness. Our dryland vineyards showed remarkable buffering capacity and the 2019 vintage has delivered extremely elegant and refined red wines with great richness, texture, aromatic purity, and persistent, mouth-coating tannins. The 2019 harvest commenced with the first block of Merlot on 19 March. The red wine harvest then turned into quite a rushed one, due to some inclement weather that forced us to get our grapes in with a fair amount of haste toward the end of harvest. The final picking of Cabernet Sauvignon was on 9 April 2019 with slightly lower alcohol potential than what we are used to, but this has translated into tightly wound, beautifully balanced red wines with excellent ageing potential.
This delicious three-way blend was carefully crafted from grapes grown on the estate. It comprises 62% Merlot, 23% Cabernet Franc and 15% Cabernet Sauvignon and was matured for 18 months in 30% new, 55% second-fill and 15% third-fill French oak barrels. The wine was not fined, but only lightly filtered prior to bottling to gently mellow the rich tannin structure. This astounding vintage shows beautiful elegance as well as the round, velvety texture that has become synonymous to the Constantia Glen THREE. This means that it can be enjoyed in its youth, yet it will certainly age and develop admirably for another 8-12 years from harvest, under correct cellaring conditions.
Youthful in color with a very dark garnet core unwinding into a lively magenta rim. Dark fruit aromas, ripe blackcurrant and juicy black plums underpinned by a fragrance of dried herbs. Beyond the initial ripe fruit flavors, there is lovely savory complexity and lingering notes of white pepper, graphite, and cedar. The final aroma is that of beautiful floral notes imparted by the Cabernet Franc in particular. The dark fruit flavors and distinct savory notes on the nose follow effortlessly onto that first sip where elegant, velvety tannins grip the palate in a vibrant intensity of flavor. The excellent richness and concentration of fine-grain tannins is further echoed by an earthy minerality, and the wine’s inherent freshness brings about a long, well-defined finish. This wine is poised, elegant and possesses old world authenticity with its delicate dried-herb notes that reign in the powerful fruit flavors. The wine comes across as tightly wound in its youth with incredible ageing potential.
4 ½ Stars 2023 Platter’s South African Wine Guide
The other bank of Bordeaux recalled in this blend, merlot, cab franc and cab (62/23/15) in 19 (93 pts). Exuberant plum, chocolate, dried herb & spice in a succulent body, with supple tannins & balanced 25% new oak, 17 months. Decant now & cellar 5+ years.
93 pts Tim Atkin MW 2022
2019 was a comparatively cool vintage in Constantia, according to Justin van Wyk, which made it well suited to red Bordeaux varieties. This cuvée of Merlot with 38% Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon is elegant and perfumed, with top notes of rocket and mint, fine-grained tannins, polished 25% new oak and cassis, cedarwood and blackcurrant leaf flavours. 2024-30
90 pts Wine Spectator May 2023
A rich, chewy red, with a fragrant entrance of cured tobacco and mesquite smoke, this offers baked black currant and cherry fruit, herbed black olive and loamy earth. An expressive, savory version, this calls for lamb on the grill or other barbecue. Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon. Best from 2024 through 2029. 1,500 cases made, 100 cases imported.