July 16, 2020
The Mythical Constantia Vin de Constance 2016. Napoleon’s Favorite Saint Helena Wine with Over 320 Years of History. It’s the "Best Sweet Wine of the Year" at Just $54.99!
“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
“From these Elysian fields used to come one of the very greatest wines in the world – the legendary Constantia. Constantia was bought by European courts in the 18th and 19th Centuries in preference to Yquem, Tokay, Madeira…” — Hugh Johnson
To those who appreciate the magic of sweet wines or better understand the “nectar of the Gods,” it has been a special week. We saw the release of the Vin de Constance 2016, the historic and mythical wine that Napoleon is reputed to have drunk a bottle a day while in exile on St Helena — a wine that has historically been favored to Tokay, Madeira, and even the likes of Yquem. More importantly for us, it is an intoxicatingly aromatic, fresh, balanced, and non-cloying sweet wine made of 100% Muscat de Frontignan hailing from 350m above sea level in the Constantia Valley of South Africa made by an estate with more than 320 years of history. It is not about botrytis, but rather, this wine achieves sweetness from bush-vine grapes raisined in the hot South African sun. Therefore, we are talking more acidity, lift, and balance than sweet wines that are heavier in sugar or more syrup-like — this is a wine that is about freshness.
Like Château d’Yquem, this is one of the true great sweet wines of the world. In fact, in the early nineteenth century, this icon from the historic Constantia Valley was as revered as Bordeaux’s First Growths. While the wine and estate fell under the radar for several decades, it has, under the leadership and winemaking of Adam Mason, become one of the most highly coveted wines on the planet. Italian Wine Merchants had the chance to taste this release this week and can truly understand Neal Martin’s words a few years back, when he said, “It is easy to see why this elixir was so coveted 200 years ago.”
Featured Wine: The Mythical Constantia Vin de Constance 2016 (Click to Order)
Note: Wines are pre-arrival
Additional Notes and Reviews:
2016 KLEIN CONSTANTIA VIN DE CONSTANCE
Christopher Deas, Italian Wine Merchants: “This is only the second vintage of this unique nectar that we have experienced, the first being the absolutely spellbinding 2012 release, and the wine is an 'experience wine' with a lot of history — in fact, 320 years of history, as the wine began in 1685, and became a favorite of Napoleon Bonaparte, Queen Victoria, and Thomas Jefferson and thus the legend was born. But more importantly, what you should know about this wine in the glass is that this is a profound sweet wine that is more about freshness and refinement thanks to its proximity to the sea and granite soils. This wine that clocks in at just 14% alcohol and is not cloying or heavy. The Muscat provides lift and a stunning bouquet of flowers that transcends to the palate. There are incredible citrus nuances from orange blossoms, dried apricots, and lemon zest to lemon wafers, all complemented with some brown spices. With aeration the wine does gain in texture, but always remains light on its feet. This wine makes you stop and stare and say, 'Remind why I do not drink sweet wines again.' There truly is nothing like seeing someone experience Château d’ Yquem or Quintarelli for the first time, and certainly Vin de Constance deserves a place there as well.”
98 Points, Tim Atkin, Decanter Magazine: "Best sweet wine of the year" “Increasingly celebrated as one of the great sweet wines of the world, not just the Cape, Vin de Constance is a delight to taste and review. Slightly drier than the 2015 release at 165 grams of sugar, it has more in common with the Loire or Tokaji than it does with Sauternes in terms of freshness and structure. Fresh, balanced and floral, with incredible delicacy, racy acidity, fine oak and flavours of pear tart, crystallised lemons and orange zest. 2019-35.”
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All my best,