Vin de Constance, the sweet wine made from unbotrytised Muscat de Frontignan, is nothing if not idiosyncratic and the 2009 particularly so.
The wine shows dried apricot, scrub and subtle but distinct oak-derived notes. There’s lots going on but it feels a bit over-engineered.
We are of course watching a change of regime – the management which has been in place since Klein Constantia’s change of ownership in 2011 feel that Vin de Constance has been undersold to date and are attempting to re-position it as one of the world’s foremost ultra-premium wines.
How are they going about this? Volumes of the 2009 are down by 25% to “just over 30 000 bottles” and the cellar-door price is now R695 per 500ml bottle, the acclaimed 2007 having sold for just R390 a bottle not so long ago. The 2010 will not be released at all which presents some interesting supply and demand permutations.
In terms of stylistics, winemaker Matthew Day who took over from Adam Mason when he left for Mulderbosch says he’s looking for more freshness and a drier finish going forward. Interestingly, the 2009 sees a portion of the final wine matured in acacia for the first time, used because this wood allows “no micro-oxygenation”.
Much of the already good Klein Constantia range has become even better during Day’s short tenure as head of the Klein Constantia cellar but there’s a vague sense of forcing the issue in the case of this wine.