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Charles Dickens’ favourite tipple

2017 Klein Constantia, Vin de Constance, South Africa – 50cl bottle

The latest release of the legendary Vin de Constance is sensational. And it is the only wine, in more than 14 years as your wine scribe, for which I cannot include a guaranteed price or indeed a stockist. It is being “shipped” from 3 September, and will be available from the “usual great merchants” at a “stable” price. I guess this means it will be sold for around the £60-mark and your search engine will provide the rest of the information you require. 

I trust you will forgive this lack of clarity, but I wanted the timing of this piece to be spot on, not least because this is the most remarkable young Constance I have ever tasted (and I have seen a few!). This epic sweetie, fashioned from super-sweet muscat de frontignan grapes, and coming from one of the most dramatic properties in the Cape, uses a recipe handed down from the 1700s. Adored by Dickens, Baudelaire, Brontë and Napoleon, to name but a few luminaries, this inspirational wine is one of the only truly great sweet wines which tastes stunning from the off and then matures gracefully for an eternity. 

I didn’t write down any florid descriptors in my tasting notes this time. I simply wrote “pristine sunshine + perfect site = sheer heaven”.

Matthew Jukes is a winner of the International Wine & Spirit Competition’s Communicator of the Year (matthewjukes.com)

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