This week sees the international launch of the latest vintage of Klein Constantia’s sweet Vin de Constance. Decanter's content director, John Stimpfig, got a sneak preview...

Significantly, the Vin de Constance 2012 is the first 100% solo vintage produced under the ownership of Charles Harman and Zdenek Bakala who bought the famous Constantia property from the Jooste family in January 2011.

Having tasted the new release in both the Cape in 2015 and in Germany earlier this year, my view is that the 2012 Vin de Constance is certainly one of its best in the modern era. It is certainly a clear step up in quality on the impressive 2011.

In the last five years, there has been a major investment programme at the legendary estate which is clearly bearing fruit. 2012 was also the first vintage in which Winemaker Matt Day was able to make the wine in its new custom-built winery.

Day has also made some important changes in the way in which the wine was harvested and aged. ‘When I first started here in 2007, we used to harvest bunches in just three passes,’ Day told me. ‘But in 2012, we made 25 passes – picking the Muscat de Frontignan grapes berry by berry to achieve the same levels of ripeness on that particular trie.

‘It also took a record three months ranging from the beginning of January to the end April and gave us considerably more blending options. Luckily for me, it finished two days before my wedding. Otherwise, I might have been in serious trouble.’

‘Fermentation was also very slow and stressful, taking up to six months,’ he added. Day has also adjusted the oak regime in 2012. ‘The barrels we used this year were a mix of new and used French and Hungarian oak with some tight-grained acacia wood to reduce oxygenation during the wine’s ageing. The end result is incredibly exciting and I can’t wait to have the 2012 on the market.