Vin de Constance is a dessert wine made by Klein Constantia Estate. Klein Constantia is the oldest, most enduring vineyard region in the Cape, first producing wine in 1689. Klein Constantia’s philosophy is founded on quality rather than quantity, reflected in the wines regularly inviting accolades, both locally and internationally. Vin de Constance is one of the world’s most famous dessert wines. It became a favorite of European kings and emperors, such as Frederick the Great and Napoleon who had it ordered from his exile on St Helena. It is also mentioned in Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility in which Mrs. Jennings recommends a little Constantia for “its healing powers on a disappointed heart”.
The modern era for Klein Constantia can arguable be said to start when Duggie Jooste bought the estate in 1979 and decided to revive the farm to its former winemaking glory with the help of Professor Chris Orferr of Stellenbosch University. In 1985 Klein Constantia released the first new vintages for commercial sale in over a century. Most recently the Jooste family sold the estate to Zdenek Bakala and Charles Harman in 2011. In 2012 the estate merged with Anwilka and gained two new shareholders in the form of wine world heavy weights Bruno Prats and Hubert de Boüard.
Klein Constantia Vin de Constance is made from Muscat de Frontignan (muscat blanc á petits grains). To make this sought-after wine the shrivelled grapes are late harvested by hand with bunch and berry selection. The wine is fermented and then aged in a combination of 60% new French oak, Hungarian oak and French Acacia. It is aged for a period of 3 years in barrel on the lees, before racking out, the portion are blended and then the wine is left to rest in tank for 6 months prior to bottling. The residual sugar for the 2013 is 172 g/L.
The 2004 Vin de Constance makes an appearance in the second book of the 50 Shades erotic trilogy at a masked ball attended by the novel’s protagonists, Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele!