Monthly Archives: June 2018

An early Groot Constantia “reproduction”

It was with interest that I read a newspaper article from 1927 referring to Constantia wine being reproduced under wine merchant P. B. Burgoyne. It reminded me of an image in KWV’s book, of a bottle, shown below, which I think closely fits the description given in the article and is likely the same bottle. Burgoyne was the same company that gave Alto its first contract to supply Alto Rouge.

Register (Adelaide, SA : 1901 – 1929), Saturday 15 January 1927, page 4


Messrs, P. B. Burgoyne &. Co, Limited, the Empire wine Merchant, of London, have forwarded to the Register Office a bottle of Constantia. It is a clever and artistic copy on one of two old bottles in possession of Messrs. P. B. Burgoyne and Co., Limited. These— containing Constantia of the vintage year 1795 – have rested quietly for some 125 years in the cellars of a famous Norfolk country house. The wine they contain is still in excellent condition, and is perfectly palatable. The antique ”finish” of the bottles, which it the result of many months labour of love by the foremost glass chemist in this country, is perfectly permanent, and will stand ordinary treatment. This bottle has caused immense interest in the English glass industry, and the method of its production remains a mystery. Constantia was famous in England and on the Continent well before the end of the 18th century. It was, in fact, supplied to the Kings of France. It maintained great popularity for many years in England, and was one of the favourite dessert wines Queen Victoria. After 1861, however, the demand for South African wines suffered serious dislocation through the removal of the preferential tariffs into the United Kingdom. Since the war South African wines have been returning rapidly to favour, owing to the efforts made by Messrs. Burgoyne & Co., at the request of the South African wine industry. The Constantia district is centred around the large property of Constantia, behind Table Mountain, and its history dates back to the seventeenth century. Groot Constantia has been from the earliest days of the old Dutch colony connected with wine, and is now the experimental wine farm of the Government of the Union of South Africa. The original name of the vineyards of the Constantia Estate was ‘Constance’ (a family name, dating back to Governor van der Stel, the original owner). This name appears as a seal on the original eighteenth century bottle, and on the reproduction. A pen drawing of the dwelling house on the Groot Constantia Estate appears on the label of the bottle. This building was unhappily damaged by fire recently, but is to be rebuilt in its original state by the South African Government.


Photo taken from KWV: 1918 – 1993, by D.J. van Zyl.



Porseleinberg vertical

Last night a vertical of the 2010 – 2016 hosted by winemaker Callie Louw.

Tasting notes:

2010 – showing some tertiary age. slight oxidation. pungent lift. and again those tannins!

2011 – love the nose but cannot explain it…iron. stony. grainy. raised only in concrete. tannins starting to relax… still prominent. My favourite.

2012 – chocolate. lovely. soft fruit. only aged in concrete. tannins.

2013- smoky. detailed, pure, chalky tannins. classic. Callie’s favourite. must agree.

2014 – biggest vintage on account of rain in the growing season. meaty nose but more penetrating than 16. rich. relaxed (for a Porseleinberg!).

2015 – more subdued on nose. elegant. lingering chalky tannins. Callie thinks vintage not very exciting. I disagree.

2016 – meaty olive (opulent) nose. tight palate. liquorice. biggest alcohol. very warm vintage.


1. Porseleinberg vintages get better with age. 10 to 13 showing real interest and personality.

2. Tannins on every vintage a hallmark.

3. 10 and 11 – dry-land farming. 12 onward post-harvest irrigation.

4. Porseleinberg has a characteristic  flavour profile showing meat, iron, blood, game, olive..

6 June 2018