Friday, 14 October 2016

Welcome back Klein Constantia!

Klein Constantia, dating back to 1865, is one of the most historic wine estates in South Africa. It was part of the vast farm founded by Simon van de Stel, Governor of the Cape of Good Hope, and the home of the legendary Vin de Constance, the sweet wine made from Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains (Muscat de Frontignan) grapes that has melted the hearts of European kings, emperors and the famous including Louis Philippe, Frederick the Great, Napoleon, Charles Dickson and Jane Austen.

The road of Klein Constantia is not always smooth. After its heyday in the 18th and 19th century, the vineyard was attacked by phylloxera and in 1865, Constantia winemaking ceased and the estate changed hands a few times. It was only until 1979 when Duggie Jooste bought and revived the farm. Finally in 1985, the first modern vintage of Vin de Constance, a recreation of the original mythical Constantia sweet wine, was released with much international acclaim. Since 2011, Klein Constantia has been under the ownership of Zdenek Bakala and Charles Harman, who are determined to bring the estate back to its former glory.

Vin de Constance has also been disappeared from Hong Kong for one year. Wine lovers will be glad to know that it has returned under the care of Northeast Wines & Spirits. Even better is that this icon wine is being accompanied by en entourage of cool climate Klein Constantia Estate Wine: Sauvignon Blanc, Metis Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Riesling and Estate Red Blend. I was pleased to be one of the first to try these wine when they landed in Hong Kong.

Both Sauvignon Blancs were outstanding and elegant. The Sauvignon Blanc 2015 was more expressive while the Metis Sauvignon Blanc 2014, inspired by Sancerre winemaker Pascal Jolivet, emphasised more on the texture. The Chardonnay 2014 was distinctive and complex and the Riesling 2015 was lively. The Estate Red 2013, a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot and Malbec, was well integrated with spices and dark fruits. All the wines had savoury finishes that added extra dimensions. The price? all retailed at a bargain under HK$200/bottle!

Finally, we tasted the Vin de Constance 2012 with multi-layers of aromas from apricot to nutmeg. It was rich but not heavy, and had a long lively finish. Apparently, there is only limited allocation for Hong Kong so get yours quick before it is sold out. 

Klein Constantia Estate Range and Vin de Constance is available from online wine club wine’n’things. Even better, wine'n'things is running a South African wine promotion to celebrate South African Braai Month until end of October. Check it out now.

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