I remember that summer, school was officially over and all I had to do was take a trip to the library, with only 4 books on the reading list, “Should be able to crank those out pretty quickly” I said to no one in particular.
I had three weeks before we went on holiday, three weeks to put the nose to the grind stone, write a few papers and spend three unencumbered weeks in the Dordogne, France.
Dickens, Chaucer, Shakespeare and Austen. I butchered my way through the first ones and elected to take Ms. Austen and her sensible ways to ‘Bon France’ a little fois gras will surely help me to make sense of the scholarly tome.
Well, there it was in chapter 30, a mention of a wine, a wine I was not familiar with:
“My dear,” said she, entering, “I have just recollected that I have some of the finest old Constantia wine in the house that ever was tasted, so I have brought a glass of it for your sister. My poor husband! How fond he was of it! Whenever he had a touch of his old colicky gout, he said it did him more good than any thing else in the world. Do take it to your sister.” *
Always up to a new quest I researched the wine (pre internet era) but the local wine merchants could offer little to enlighten me: I do wonder if my French vocab was the hindrance! Back in Blighty I had a touch more success, my future boss at ‘Peter Dominic’s Wine Merchants’ shed a tiny glimmer of light on the subject. Constantia was produced in South Africa, and so highly revered that the European Monarchs, Dukes and Bishops always had first dibbs.
“Is it for sale? If so, where and how much?” I asked.
Peter Hanney, my future boss replied; “No, don’t know and bloody expensive”
Well, what a delight last week, when a certain wine shows up on the shelves at Beltramo’s! Vin de Constance, natural sweet wine from Klein Contsantia. $ 54.99.
Burnished copper in colour with alluring, exotic aromas of Turkish Delight intermingle with fragrant honeysuckle, citrus peel and clove spiciness. Unctuously sweet, deeply complex and concentrated tropical and Seville orange marmalade flavours are lifted by a fine acid thread to a satisfyingly long, delicious and lipsmackingly vibrant finish. – Klein Contsantia Tasting Notes
James D-B, Beltramo’s Wine Consultant
*Jane Austen’s “Sense and Sensibility”