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Klein Constantia Vin de Constance (500ML) 1997

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      Winemaker Notes

      The re-creation of the legendary sweet Constantia wine made in the 18th and 19th century. Sought after by Napoleon and the European aristocracy, including George IV and Louis Philippe. Praised by Charles Dickens, Jane Austen and Baudelaire. Situated on the narrow Cape Peninsula, Klein Constantia¹s vineyards enjoy a temperate maritime climate. The Muscat is planted on the lower, warmer slopes in unirrigated soils consisting of decomposed Table Mountain granite.

      Deep, yellow-gold in colour. Intense and complex nose of dried apricots, raisins and orange marmalade. Luscious mouthfeel: sweet, spicy, citrus fruit flavours with fine, balanced acidity. The finish is clean and long. Great potential, for drinking now or long-term cellar maturation.

      Critical Acclaim

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      RP 93
      Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
      WS 92
      Wine Spectator
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      Klein Constantia

      Klein Constantia

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      Klein Constantia, South Africa
      Image of winery

      While "klein" means "small," Klein Constantia’s reputation is anything but. With its historic Cape Dutch homestead and breathtaking location, it has frequently been described as one of the world’s most beautiful vineyards. In 2002, Wine and Spirits Magazine named Klein Constantia among the Top 25 Vineyards of the World. During the 18th and 19th centuries, "the sweet, luscious, and excellent wine called Constantia" became one of the most legendary and sought-after wines in the world. Prized by kings, emperors, and nobles, the iconic bottling could be found in the cellars of many of the courts of Europe. Napoleon consumed a bottle of Constantia each day during his exile on St. Helena, and the fabled elixir was immortalized in the works of Baudelaire, Charles Dickens, and Jane Austen.

      After phylloxera devastated the vineyards of Constantia at the end of the 19th century, Klein Constantia fell into disrepair. In 1980, the run-down farm was purchased by Duggie Jooste, whose family had been involved in the South African wine trade for four generations. Duggie and his son Lowell began to revitalize the farm and using vines propagated from the original vineyard stock, they sought to revive the glorious Constantia wine of yore.

      The cellar is headed by the energetic young Adam Mason, a Stellenbosch graduate who gained significant winemaking experience in France before joining Klein Constantia in 2004. The recreated "Vin de Constance" remains the estate’s crown jewel. Over the past two decades, the dazzling nectar has received immense critical acclaim and has become a modern-day legend in its own right.

      South Africa

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      With an important wine renaissance is in full swing, impressive red and white bargains abound in South Africa. The country has a particularly long and rich history with winemaking, especially considering its status as part of the “New World.” In the mid-17th century, the lusciously sweet dessert wines of Constantia were highly prized by the European aristocracy. Since then, the South African wine industry has experienced some setbacks due to the phylloxera infestation of the late 1800s and political difficulties throughout the following century.

      Today, however, South Africa is increasingly responsible for high-demand, high-quality wines—a blessing to put the country back on the international wine map. Wine production is mainly situated around Cape Town, where the climate is generally warm to hot. But the Benguela Current from Antarctica provides brisk ocean breezes necessary for steady ripening of grapes. Similarly, cooler, high-elevation vineyard sites throughout South Africa offer similar, favorable growing conditions.

      South Africa’s wine zones are divided into region, then smaller districts and finally wards, but the country’s wine styles are differentiated more by grape variety than by region. Pinotage, a cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsault, is the country’s “signature” grape, responsible for red-fruit-driven, spicy, earthy reds. When Pinotage is blended with other red varieties, like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah or Pinot Noir (all commonly vinified alone as well), it is often labeled as a “Cape Blend.” Chenin Blanc (locally known as “Steen”) dominates white wine production, with Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc following close behind.

      Other Dessert

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      Apart from the classics, we find many regional gems of different styles.

      Late harvest wines are probably the easiest to understand. Grapes are picked so late that the sugars build up and residual sugar remains after the fermentation process. Ice wine, a style founded in Germany and there referred to as eiswein, is an extreme late harvest wine, produced from grapes frozen on the vine, and pressed while still frozen, resulting in a higher concentration of sugar. It is becoming a specialty of Canada as well, where it takes on the English name of ice wine.

      Vin Santo, literally “holy wine,” is a Tuscan sweet wine made from drying the local white grapes Trebbiano Toscano and Malvasia in the winery and not pressing until somewhere between November and March.

      Rutherglen is an historic wine region in northeast Victoria, Australia, famous for its fortified Topaque and Muscat with complex tawny characteristics.

      CVI202907_1997 Item# 55372