Today we officially release our Vin de Constance 2009; a wine we believe will surpass many high expectations as we strive to create one of the most exquisite natural sweet wines in the world.
Made from 100% Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains, the 2009 follows in the footsteps of the 2008, whose accolades include a 95-point rating in Decanter magazine, and the 2007, which received an unprecedented 97 points from Neal Martin in Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate.
Since 1986, its maiden vintage in the modern era, Vin de Constance has been made in the style of the legendary Constantia sweet wines of the 18th and 19th centuries, when it was savoured by European royalty (Frederick the Great, Louis XVI and Queen Victoria to name just a few), appreciated by politicians (from American founding father George Washington to German chancellor Otto von Bismarck), and recommended by some of France’s most famous gourmands (including Brillat-Savarin and Dumas).
The wine is made by grapes grown on the foothills of the cool climate hills of Constantia. “The grapes are left to hang to dry on the vine and only the best bunches are selected and hand-picked,” reveals winemaker Matthew Day. “At the end of the growing season, the individual berries or raisins are hand picked to make the essencia, the very heart of the Vin de Constance.”
In 2009, harvest began in late January and ended in late April, yielding 25 separate batches, each macerated and fermented differently. After fermentation (which took between six months to a year), the batches were aged on the lees in a combination of 60% new French oak, Hungarian oak and French Acacia oak for four years prior to blending, bottling and labelling by hand.
Production of Vin de Constance is extremely limited, and only occurs in exceptional years. There will be no 2010 vintage, for example, which is all the more reason to savour the 2009.
Day describes the wine as follows: “Golden orange in colour, with delicate aromas of nougat and honeycomb. The palate has a fresh acidity with flavours of Seville marmalade and elegantly dried apricots. These fruity notes are married with sandalwood and allspice giving us an aromatic, but yet an elegant and endless finish.”