This truly unique natural sweet, which is a recreation of the ‘sweet luscious and excellent wine of Constantia’ that was world famous during the 18th and 19th centuries was one of over 17,200 wines entered into this year’s competition.
All were blind tasted by experts in a particular region or style, and the gold medal winners then went on to compete for Platinum status. Only then was a special tasting conducted to choose the overall Platinum Best in Show winners.
The Vin de Constance 2013 was rated 96 points, making it one of the top scorers, in line with ratings already received from the likes of Neal Martin of Wine Advocate (96/100) and Tim Atkin in his South Africa Special Report (95/100).
Marking winemaker Matthew Day’s second vintage in charge of the iconic dessert wine, 2013 was characterised by a prolonged winter and cool spring, resulting in a later growing season with budburst delayed by up to two weeks. “Ideal conditions prevailed with moderate daytime and cool nighttime temperatures,” says Matt. “This together with a dry season ensured for perfect ripening and raisining of the Muscat de Frontignan.”
Working closely with viticulturist Craig Harris, Matt harvested the grapes in batches throughout the season, from ripe berries with great acidity to raisins for intense sugar concentration. “These batches form the perfect ratio between sugar, alcohol and acidity, allowing the wine to stop fermentation naturally and without intervention.”
The 2013 was aged for three years on its gross lees in a combination of 60 % new French oak, Hungarian oak and French Acacia. After racking out and blending, it spent a further six months in tank before bottling. “This wine is the culmination a great attention to detail, from bunch and berry sorting to barrel ageing and cellaring,” says Matt.
Managing director Hans Astrom adds: “This is not only a stunning wine but also one of the most historic sweet wines in the world, having thankfully been resurrected in 1986 after a 100-year absence by the Joostes, the former owners of Klein Constantia Estate. We are honoured and privileged to be the custodians of this truly unique South African wine whose legend continues, thanks to a superb track record of being included among ‘the best there is’ in prestigious competitions such as the Decanter World Wine Awards.”
Vin de Constance 2013 tasting notes:
Bright and gold in appearance with aromas of citrus marmalade and frangipani abundant on the nose. The palate is full-bodied and complex. A good sugar to fruit ratio combined with a great acidity ensures the wine is in balance. The wine concludes with a long, spicy and grippy finish.
Alcohol: 13.7% vol | Residual Sugar: 172g/l | pH: 3.7 | Total Acid: 6.6g/l
For more information visit www.kleinconstantia.com or call Eve +27 21 794 5188.