100% Muscat de Frontigan. Harvested in 21 batches over 60 days, beginning in early February, with higher-acidity grapes, and finishing 11 April, with grapes with more maturity and flavour. The second most prolonged harvest since the maiden 1986. Slower ripening than normal and smaller berries. Berries and raisins sorted by hand. Cold maceration for up to two weeks. Inoculation with a non-Saccharomyces yeast to initiate fermentation while inhibiting unwanted microorganisms, and therefore off-flavours. Each batch is pressed to 500-litre barrels, for fermentation, lasting six months to a year. Three years’ maturation on gross lees, in 60% new French oak barrels, some acacia barrels, and larger foudres. No racking until the final blend has been reached. TA 6.2 g/l, pH 3.77, RS 172 g/l. Pale-mid gold. Very floral nose of acacia and orange blossom, with creamy apricot notes and deftly integrated baking-spice notes from the oak maturation. Sweet, rich palate entry, with apricot and orange, but the floral notes kick in and, with a little bit of pithy chew, a sense of dryness does build. Lovely poise, though a shade behind the 2017 in finesse. Still a rather lovely wine, either way! (TJ)
Anticipated maturity: 2021-2035
James Suckling 98
Extraordinary aromas of white peaches, apricots, vanilla and flowers. Full-bodied and very sweet with so much sweet and dried fruit, such as apricots and tangerines, yet it maintains citrusy freshness and texture, with a long, very sweet finish. Always energetic and vivid. Great length to this. Goes on for minutes. It’s a sweet wine to drink when young, to marvel over the intensity and verve, yet also one to age for decades. Drink or hold.
The 2018 Vin de Constance was picked over 60 days, the second most prolonged picking since the maiden 1986 vintage. It was lightly pressed into 500-liter barrels for alcoholic fermentation, which can take up to six months, then matured on the gross lees in 60% new oak and acacia barrels. This vintage contains 172g/L residual sugar and 6.2g/L total acidity. It presents a vibrant, effervescent bouquet of freshly sliced grapefruit, fresh fig and citrus fruit, all penetrating, vivacious and tensile. The palate is beautifully balanced with a fine bead of acidity, impressive weight and notes of grapefruit and orange zest plus hints of stem ginger. The spiciness is accentuated toward the finish. Another outstanding Vin de Constance courtesy of winemaker Matt Day.
Anticipated maturity: 2022-2045
Robert Parker 96
While similar in color to the 2017, the 2018 Vin de Constance Natural Sweet Wine possesses a richer, rounder frame than the previous vintage. Devastatingly gorgeous on the nose, the wine exudes ripeness, precision and focus, somersaulting out of the glass with gorgeous aromas of apricot purée, white nectarine and yellow peach with heady floral aromas. Compact, medium to full-bodied and unctuous on the palate, the wine explodes, showcasing the greatness of Muscat. The wine continues to unfold in the mouth, expressing additional layers and complexity it sits on the palate. It’s wonderfully textured, and I find myself almost chewing the wine, as there is so much going on with it. Drawing in air over the palate, I continue to slurp the wine and it continues to offer up more of its secrets and complexity. No spitting today. The wine glides to a persistent and world-class finish that has me smitten with this vintage. Do not pass up the opportunity to try this wine
Anticipated maturity: 2022-2065