COUNTRY/REGION: South Africa/Constantia Valley.
GRAPES: 100% Muscat de Frontignan.
The 2016 vintage was earlier than anticipated due to El Niño causing a warm and dry weather build up to harvest, resulting in faster ripening fruit. Still it yielded berries with concentrated flavours and well balanced acidity. Fortunately, in the Constantia Valley they receive enough rainfall, even during the driest of seasons and are safeguarded with sufficient moisture in the soils, unlike some warmer regions in the country. They are also protected from the extreme heat spikes by their proximity to the ocean, experiencing predominantly cool night time temperatures allowing for the perfect and slow raisining conditions for the development of ripeness while retaining a good natural acidity.
Now with a completely renovated cellar, they have made use of dedicated tanks intended for perfect maceration and fermentation of the Vin de Constance. Each batch they harvest – from the riper berries with good acidity to the raisins for sugar concentration – forms a unique component and as such is kept separate and treated differently until the final blending process which can take up to 6 months. Maturation was an average of 3 years, with 50% in 500L barrels and 50% in brand new French Oak Foudres.
TASTING NOTES: Deeply complex and robust, the nose is layered with Seville orange marmalade, honeysuckle and ginger. Unctuously full bodied with intense flavours ranging from dried mango to fresh vanilla and lively citrus zest. These allow for the perfect balance on the palate, showing restrained concentration with a pithy astringency and a mouth-watering finish.
The 2016 Vin de Constance is matured in 50% French acacia oak, Hungarian oak and regular French oak, and 50% in French foudres. This has more delineation and precision on the nose compared to the previous vintage, offering acacia honey, quince, saffron and touches of elderflower in the background. The palate is very well balanced with fine precision, a killer line of acidity and disarming purity toward a finish that lingers in the mouth. Stunning - Neal Martin Vinous Website.