This wine is something that legends are made of. It is a wine with a history so deep, and a meaning to profound that should you be looking for an investment wine, we would advise you to look no further. It is hailed as the world’s best sweet wine and year upon year news of its production is eagerly awaited. This is a wine that has been served to royalty all over the world, to kings and emporers. It has been gushed over by some of the greatest novelists of our time and its name is whispered to the far ends of the earth.
This wine rivals some of the best known international comparisons including the Tokaji and d’Yquem from Sauternes, at a fraction of the price
History of Klein Constantia and its Icon
It is produced off a farm which is South Africa’s oldest commercially producing farm, dating back to 1684 when Simon van der Stel was given permission to start his own farm. Constantia developed into a wine making farm by 1708 and by 1817, the farm was divided into two farms, Klein and Groot Constantia. The farm hit incredibly hard times due to the disease of the plants and went into a deep dormancy that only Dougie Jooste could get it out of in 1979 when he bought the farm. With a new cellar being built and ready just in time for the farms first maiden vintage in over a century, 1985 saw the ushering in of a brand new era of wine making for Klein Constantia.
This iconic year marked the revival of a wine that has been only been kept alive through the centuries in literature and myths. It was a revival of a natural sweet beauty and a breath of life back into the recreation that had once touched the lips of Napoleon Bonaparte and Charles Dickens. The farm stayed in the Jooste family for another two decades until 2011, when it was bought over by Zdenek Bakala and Charles Harman and the next year merged with Anwilka Vineyards.
The Recreation of a Legend
Since its reincarnation in 1985, the farm has constantly challenged itself in recreating the wine in all of its historical glory. The drive to bring 300 years of history in each bottle pushed the farm to study every record, and meticulously pick the perfect vines. The change of hands in 2011 saw a brand new challenge for the latest owners, and under the new regime, the 2011 and 2012 vintages were eagerly awaited by the world. After nothing being released in 2010, 2011 saw the absolute icon being reborn.
This proved to be the last vintage to be vinified by Adam Mason, who was later replaced by his assistant Matthew Day who bottled the wine. He was overseen by Hans Astrom who guided the young winemaker in producing a wine that they both desired to have a more primary character and freshness to the wine. Although a high risk to put such a young winemaker in charge of such an important wine, no-one seems to be complaining after these years exceeded all expectations.
The production process was altered slightly and came with its own unique and interesting challenges. Harvesting was altered by Day and changed from the old process of picking the bunches in just three passes to in 2012, rather making 27 passes and picking the Muscat de Frontignan grapes berry by berry to achieve the same levels of ripeness on that particular trie.
Picking started in late January and finished in late April, some of the fermentation taking six months to finish and finished two days before his wedding day. The barrels used in 2012 were a mix of new and used French and Hungarian oak with some tight-grained acacia wood to reduce oxygenation during the wine’s ageing. It was left for two and a half years in barrels before spending a further six months in tank before bottling.
What to Expect from Vin de Constance
The nose has been described as captivating with its flower and fynbos notes. Herbs, spice, citrus and even a little mint comes through as it enters your nose. The palate is rich and full, yet is perfectly balanced out with a zesty bite to it. It is an extraordinary wine that stays with you long after you have set your glass down.
The value of the wine multiplies year on year, 1999 bottle, worth R250 at the time is now worth over R3000. Get your own bottle of this true historical icon here and be a part of its magical history.