Vin de Constance, produced on Klein Constantia Wine Estate, made its mark on history when Napoleon Bonaparte drank it on his deathbed, and in Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility, Mrs Jennings recommended a little Constantia for "its healing powers on a disappointed heart". (via Wikipedia)
Constantia, or vin de Constance, is a South African dessert wine. It is made from Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains (Muscat de Frontignan) grapes grown in the Constantia Wine Valley in Cape Town. In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries it was widely exported to Europe.
However, production of Constantia ceased in the late nineteenth century following the devastation of South African vineyards by the phylloxera epidemic. Production resumed at Klein Constantia in the 1980 and at Groot Constantia in 2003.
Back with a bang!
Now, it has made a welcome return to history on a menu in the sequel to E.L James’ 50 Shades of Grey, 50 Shades Darker. (The dramatic rise in Kindle sales is widely attributed to this trilogy of sexy books).
The South African wine appears on a Masked Ball menu in the book:
A Masked Ball in aid of Coping Together
Salmon Tartare with Crème Fraiche and Cucumber on Toasted Brioche
Alban Estate Roussanne 2006
Roasted Muscovy Duck Breast
Creamy Sunchoke Purée, Thyme Roasted Bing Cherries, Foie Gras
Châteauneuf-du-Pape Vieilles Vignes 2006 Domaine de la Janasse
Sugared Crusted Walnut Chiffon
Candied figs, Sabayon, Maple Ice Cream
Vin de Constance 2004 Klein Constantia
Selection of Local Cheeses and Breads
Alban Estate Grenache 2006
Coffee and Petits Fours
You gotta love it!