Constantia mysteries

There are already a few sweet wines from Constantia hoping to emulate the great and famous wine of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries – and more on the way, I believe. But their producers can only take more or less well-informed guesses at the drink that Napoleon et al tasted. I tried tackling some of the problems and mysteries in relation to the legendary Constantia (with a bit of digression along the way) in an article published in the current issue of The World of Fine Wine. With the publisher’s permission, here is a link to a PDF of the article: Constantia mysteries.

The magazine was, incidentally, recently given the inaugural Louis Roederer Award for International Wine Publication of the Year. Well-deserved recognition for what many people regard as the finest and most serious (and, sadly, most expensive) wine magazine published anywhere today – though it’s certainly not the most widely read or influential. That’s all my opinion of it too – but as a frequent contributor I am necessarily biassed (the current edition also carries my story of the Sadie Family Ouwingerdreeks, but I have previously covered that issue sufficiently here to not feel tempted to offer another link). Professor Mark Solms (of Solms-Delta estate) is unbiassed but was also enthusiastic in a review of it he wrote, ages ago, for Grape: “Could it be true that such an intelligent magazine actually exists in this day and age? … If you want to read an almost-perfect quarterly before you die, subscribe quickly to this one.”

World of Fine Wine does not offer much of its content online, but has recently inaugurated a weekly column (a blog they call it, though like most of what appears on Grape, for example, it is less of a blog than a series of short articles) shared amongst some very fine writers. It is updated each Friday, and available here. The current “blog” is a lovely meditation by Andrew Jefford on aspects of life in France.

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