Location and surface area of the Klein Constantia estate vineyard
Klein Constancia is a winery located in the Western Cape region of South Africa. The estate overlooks an exceptional vineyard on the foothills of the Constantiaberg, a famous mountain on the Cape Peninsula within the Table Mountain National Park.
What is the history of Klein Constantia?
A history with origins harking back to 1685
In 1685, Simon van der Stel, a senior official of the Dutch East India Company, acquired a large plot of land on which he planted many vines and built the estate of Groot Constantia, named after his wife Constance, in the Cape Dutch architectural style.
A swift international success
Thanks to their high-quality wines and the growing trade between South Africa and the Netherlands, the wines of the estate were served at the finest Dutch, Prussian and French dinner parties. In 1782, Louis XVI had more Klein Constancia wines in his Versailles cellar than Burgundian wines. Other illustrious figures celebrated the wines of the estate, such as the American politicians George Washington and John Adams, but also Charles Baudelaire and Napoleon Bonaparte, who had bottles of Vin de Constance delivered to him every month during his exile on St Helena.
An upswing from 1980
Following the death of Simon van der Stel in 1712, the estate was divided up and had many owners. In 1980, Douglas 'Duggie' Jooste, the former owner of Sedgwick's, a family-owned sherry company, acquired Klein Constancia. Advised by Professor Chris Orffer, the former head of the viticulture department at the University of Stellenbosch, Douglas Jooste began an in-depth study of the soils to enhance the nuances and identity of each terroir.
The renaissance from 2011
In 2011, the estate was acquired by an American banker of Czech origin, Zdenek Bakala and the British banker Charles Harman, vice-president of JPMorgan banks. With the support of two French shareholders, Hubert de Boüard de Laforest, co-owner of Château Angélus (Saint-Émilion) and Bruno Prats, former owner of Château Cos d'Estournel, substantial work was carried out to restructure the vineyard in order to restore the estate to its former glory.
All there is to know about the terroir of the Klein Constantia estate
Location and sun exposure
Partly biodynamic, this terroir comprises numerous grape varieties (Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Muscat de Frontignan, Petit Verdot, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon).
Geology: soils with a unique formation
The vineyards of the Klein Constantia estate lie on deep, ancient soils. These brown soils are partly composed of gravel, granite and saprolite (clayey rock).
Climate: unique maritime influences
Situated at an altitude of between 35 and 400 metres above sea level, this terroir benefits from a constant sea breeze from 150 metres upwards as well as a Mediterranean climate conferred by the influence of the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. Mild, wet winters precede hot, dry summers.
The style of Klein Constantia wines
The profile of the wines
The reputation of Klein Constantia wines beams beyond borders. These wines are regarded as one of the finest expressions of South Africa's great terroirs, producing wines that harmoniously blend aromatic purity, complexity and finesse.
Vin de Constance, an emblematic wine
Vin de Constance is the fruit of a rigorous selection of Muscat de Frontignan, a small-grained white Muscat varietal, and is one of the finest sweet wines of the southern hemisphere.
This exceptional wine, made using a technique of passerillage (raisining) on the vines, seduces with its unique style which exudes a rare and refreshing aromatic palette. Unique in its style, this sweet wine, predominantly paired with desserts, also showcases a unique bottle design, which has been modernised by an Italian designer to resemble the original bottle shape.