In early April I had the pleasure of joining Jacqueline Harris from Klein Constantia along with some other wine buyers from around Denver for lunch at FIRE. This particular winery is located near False Bay in South Africa. Seeing as I am not too familiar with South African wines I was eager at the opportunity to learn more. Before we get into the wines themselves I think it is important to understand the history of the winery so you appreciate their wines just a little more.
Klein Constantia was established in 1685 by the Govener of Cape Good Hope at the time, Simon van der Stel. He was the first to recognize the small colony was a place of importance and ordered the colony to start testing the soil until he found the perfect area for the vines to be planted, on granitic soils with cool moisture-laden winds to help control temperatures. Lots has changed since then but the same quality wine that made them famous way back when (Constantia) is still in production today and is better than ever. During lunch that day we tasted through six different wines from their collection and out of those six I had two that stood out.
The first wine I liked was their 2014 Klein Constantia Estate Sauvignon Blanc ‘Perdeblokke’. It was not your typical Sauvignon Blanc meaning that it was not full of green/grassy notes or grapefruit; instead it was passion fruit and floral notes all the way with a slight pepperiness on the palate and a nice steely finish. Still crisp and clean but not too astringent like some Sauvignon Blancs tend to be. This is the perfect patio wine!
The second wine was the one I loved the most that day: 2009 Klein Constantia Vin de Constance, the wine that made them famous. The first thing that caught my attention was hearing it is a naturally sweet wine, meaning it is not fortified or effected by botrytis. It had great complexity stemming from the grapes themselves (Muscat de Frontignan) and then the four years spent aging in oak barrels helped a lot too. The wine tasted of dried apricots, mango, and pineapple with a long racy finish of blood orange and freshly chopped ginger. The wine is incredibly silky smooth and well balanced, just enough acidity to not make the wine too heavy. This is my new favorite sweet wine, hands down.
If you haven’t tasted either of these wines before, do yourself (and your friends) a favor and plan a barbeque just so you can taste these phenomenal wines. Trust me, you will not be disappointed. And after you’ve tried these wines let me know your thoughts, I would love to hear back from you.
I would just like to say thank you for following me on my journey to become a Master Sommelier, it means so much to have your support. Please be sure to leave a comment and subscribe to my blog so you can stay up to date on all of my latest adventures!