On Friday most of the judges from the Top 100 visited two wineries in nearby Constantia. First up, Klein Constantia, who make the wonderful sweet wine Vin de Constance. Winemaker Adam Mason explained how the Vin de Constance was made from the 10 hectares of Muscat de Frontignan vines on the property.
First, one block – prone to sour rot because the birds attack the grapes if they are left too long – is harvested to make a dry wine that acts as a base.
Then pickers go out through the vineyard and select just the raisined berries – these would otherwise be lost by the time the main harvest takes place. These are fermented separately. They are picked in 1 kg buckets.
Then the naturally dried, late harvest grapes are picked. They’re fermented on the skins, with manual punchdowns. This helps add phenolic depth to the wine, and also helps with juice yield from the raisined grapes. Sam Harrop had a go at punching down the cap on one of these fermenters.
The final wine is blended, sometimes with a little of a previous vintage used as a sort of seasoning. It’s a naturally sweet wine (not fortified) and has impeccable balance and complexity. And it ages well.
There’s a short film of the visit here: