Vin de Constance served by Britain’s Queen Elizabeth to Chinese President Xi Jinping

KLEIN CONSTANTIA Vin de Constance 2008 was one of six superb wines chosen to be served during the state banquet hosted at Buckingham Palace by the Queen of England Elizabeth II for Chinese President Xi Jinping and attended by 150 dignitaries who also included British Prime Minister David Cameron and Prince Andrew. The other wines: Ridgeview Grosvenor Brut 2009 (Bubbly from Sessex, UK); Meursault Santenots 2007 of Marquis d’Angerville (Premier Cru Chardonnay from Burgundy, France); Haut-Brion 1989 (red blend from Bordeaux, France); Warre’s Vintage Port 1977.

From the historians at Klein Constantia: “Sweet Constantia wine has been favoured by European royalty since at least the 1770s. An October 1777 inventory for Prussian King Frederick the Great’s cellar at Schloss Sanssouci included 409 bottles of ‘Capp Constancia’. In November 1782, Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette had considerably more Constantia than Bordeaux or even Burgundy in their cellar at Versailles – a remarkable 2 634 bottles of ‘Vin du cap de Constance’…” And “Queen Victoria enjoyed a glass of Constantia every evening after dinner…”

Following a period of no production on the farm, the modern era of the Natural Sweet wine began in 1990 with the release of Klein Constantia Vin de Constance 1986, and since then “the wine has once again been savoured by princes and presidents, kings and connoisseurs.” Just released at R699 per 500ml bottle, the 2011 vintage from Muscat de Frontignan grapes spent three years in barrel. “Concentrated flavours of apricot and orange zest with aspects of frangipani flowers,” says KC’s MD Hans Astrom. “Mouth-filling yet clean and focused, the wine tapers into a rich, luscious finish.”

For more about the enjoyment of South African wines by royalty and world leaders, see here for an earlier post on the topic.