(2021) From the marginal and cool Syrah climate of the Wairau Valley in Marlborough, this came from a warm season. It has 2% Viognier in the blend and comes from 27-year-old vines, no stems were included in the indigenous ferment and it was in oak for 18 months. So fragrant and perfumed, back to a very lifted floral signature here, violet and kirsch, something pot-pourri-like with Asian spice. In the mouth just a little drier than I had expected, the fruit a little shy, certainly not un-enjoyable, but slightly short and quite straightforward.
(2019) Delightful, pale lemon/straw colour. Chardonnay-dominant, refined mousse, light, blossom and gently biscuity nose, with lemon and pear. The palate also shows that little biscuity, creamy richness, such sweet and ripe fruit, lemon and peach, then a very fine, fresh finish with precise acidity to give some backbone. Dosage is 6.5g/l.
(2019) Only 5.5g/l dosage here, and 60% Pinot Noir with a little Meunier too, an assemblage of red and white base wines. Delicate pale salmon pink, again a refined, small bubble mousse. There’s a delicate red berry fruitiness, with quite a pronounced yeastiness too. The palate is dry with a lemon and pink grapefruit tang, a little sherbet, raspberry tartness which, along with the low dosage, gives a savoury finish. Excellent, and again has good structure.
(2019) Only 3%g/l sugar here, so technically Extra Brut. The blend is 80% Chardonnay, mostly barrel-fermented, with 20% Pinot Noir. Deeper colour, much more leesy, deep, meatier character. The disgorgement in June 2018, so over six years on the lees, plus the barrel fermentation, has allowed that lovely development of tertiary aromas and flavours, a little bruised fruit, a hint of orange, and good toast. Again the palate retains all the freshness and the lemon and lime bite of acidity.
(2016) Another highly aromatic Constance from the vintage when Klein Constantia announced a style change, trying to introduce a little more freshness into the wine, hence a slightly lower alcohol and slightly lower residual sugar (152g/l). Lots of flowers and exotic incense lift, also lovely orange fruit and a palate layered with toffee and cream, the acidity nicely balanced and with plenty of zest.
(2015) One of the great, great names of the Loire valley on superb form, this demi-sec or 'half dry' Chenin Blanc is everything that so many others of this style might aspire to. Such intriguing honeyed richness here, swirling with light smokiness and vanilla, but whilst hinting at the ripe and exotic it is the mineral and gravel notes that are adding so much more complexity. Quite luscious, the orangey brightness of the acidity playing against gorgeous ripe apple and more exotic nectarine sweetness, it is long and utterly beautiful.