With more than 320 years of history, Vin de Constance is without a doubt THE greatest sweet wine of the South hemisphere, being a unique style based on freshness, complexity, balance and deliciously hedonistic aromas. The vines of Muscat de Frontignan, the only variety used for Vin de Constance, stretch more than 16,5 hectares together with the estate’s other varieties on the slopes of the Constantiaberg mountain. The terroir of the Constantiaberg is 600 millions years old and has a high clay content which ensures good irrigation and favourable water retention, keeping the vines happy during the dry and hot summers. Located between 70m and 100m above sea level, the South-East oriented Muscat plantings on the estate’s lower slopes benefit from the constant cooling sea breezes of the Cape Doctor, a wind formed by the Benguela current coming up to the Cape from the Antarctic.
In the vineyard, a first harvest is made to create a basic base wine with a 12.5% to 13% alcohol content and a good acidity. In all, there are up to 20 separate pickings which are all vinified separately, 50% from bush vines planted in 2011 and 50% from older trellised vines planted in 1983. The consequential elaboration of Vin de Constance means that it does not require any “noble rot” or botrytis but merely the raisining of the grapes in a natural sweet wine style. After an extended fermentation period, the wine is normally aged for 3 years in a combination of 50% new French oak and acacia barrels, as well as some large format foudres before further blending and bottling.
Vin de Constance was previously enjoyed by…
• Napoléon 1st who had some bottles delivered weekly at Saint-Hélène during his exile. On his death bed, he wanted to drink only Vin de Constance and nothing else.
• Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette.
• King George IV, Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth II
• Prussian Emperor Frédéric Le Grand.
• George Washington and Thomas Jefferson.
• The Indonesian Prince Dipanagara who was a Muslim but still drank Vin de Constance.
• Baudelaire (« I prefer Constance to opium »), Lord Byron, Jane Austen (a remedy to a heartbreak ) and Charles Dickens.
• John Adams, Casanova, Alexandre Dumas