Vin de Constance 2014

Vin de Constance 2014
The hotly anticipated Vin de Constance 2014 has been released. Routinely acclaimed by the critics, the 2014 is a superb wine of delicate precision and intensity; of bright, clear floral aromas and a palate cut with dazzling citrus fruit, fresh ginger and quince. Reintroduced in 1986 after a 100-year hiatus, recent vintages of South Africa’s most famous wine have really turned a corner. Today, Vin de Constance eschews density for poise, and Klein Constantia’s world-beating ambition feels increasingly achievable.

A word on the 2014 vintage. A near-perfect growing season produced a crop of top-quality and relative abundance. Harvest for Vin de Constance began in January and continued in successive passes over the next two months. Extremely labour-intensive, literal berry-by-berry picking was carried out in the dark of night to ensure cool ambient temperatures, perfectly healthy fruit and a spread of ripeness levels. Sugar concentration is achieved here via natural raisining rather than botrytis. Fifteen separate batches were blended over six months, before two and a half years’ cask ageing in French and Hungarian oak.

Klein Constantia was bought-out in 2011 and prudent developments are ongoing. Firstly, bush vines are back! The team believe they ripen best and improve the balance of sugar, alcohol and acidity; essential for quality sweet wine. Add to that reduced spraying to restore the natural balance of the soil, and the quest to develop superior Muscat de Frontignan clones from historic blocks, and the clarity and purity of fruit is better than ever. The cellar too has seen a total renovation, spearheaded by Matt Day - the estate’s talented young winemaker at the helm since 2012. The future looks bright at Klein Constantia.

“As for the prices for Vin de Constance, well, if I happen to taste better value for money than recent vintages I will let you know - but don’t hang around waiting. I mean, under $50 for a meticulously crafted, profound, rare and utterly delicious world class wine? What are you waiting for?” Neal Martin