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2012 Klein Constantia Vin de Constance
A World Classic Dessert
March 23, 2017
From the late 18th through the end of the 19th century South Africa's world famous wine was the sweet Constantia. From the oldest wine estate in the Cape, its unctuously sweet dessert wine was drunk by Charles Dickens, Jane Austen, Frederick the Great, Napoleon, Baudelaire and Tsar Nicolas. The phylloxera blight drove the Constantia estate into the doldrums, but in 1980 the smaller part of the old estate, Klein (little) Contantia was purchased and revivified. The new owners recreated the Constantia wine in 1986, naming it Vin de Constance.
It has become iconic again, an oak aged & ageworthy dessert from unbotrytised, unfortified Muscat de Frontignan. The winery sends picker though the vineyard as many as 25 times to get each grape at its maximum sweetness.
We have offered it since the 1992 vintage when we could get it, but demand and importer inconsistency have made it harder and harder to find.
Then came the 2012 vintage which has already become legendary. The authoritative Platter Guide called it:
"Drop dead gorgeous. … has exotic tropical fruit, marzipan and fynbos* notes, silky sweetness. Racy acidity, energizing freshness enhanced by tight-grained acacia oak joining the usual mix of new/used French/Hungarian."
Tim Atkin "Sweeter and more alcoholic than the 2011, but somehow fresher and brighter, too, it's floral, pure and focused, with notes of orange zest, tarte tatin and well integrated oak. Shaping up to be the best Vin de Constance yet."
I tried to get some 2012 in South Africa, but from winery to wine stores to restaurants, it had sold out. On my return I found that a new importer had a small amount. We took what we could get. Savor and/or cellar.
*Fynbos is the savory herbal native scrub growth, found in the Cape. It is like the garrugue of southern France. It makes an excellent herbal tea.
2012 Klein Constantia Vin de Constance half liter bottle $79
Special while still available, case of 6 $399
Order by phone at 617.367.8605, or reserve here: email@example.com
Please pass this on to any friends who are wine enthusiasts.
- Len Rothenberg