Wine of the week: Charles Dickens’ favourite tipple

This is the most remarkable young Vin de Constance I have ever tasted, says Matthew Jukes.

2017 Klein Constantia, Vin de Constance, South Africa – 50cl bottle

The latest release of the legendary Vin de Constance is sensational. And it is the only wine, in more than 14 years as your wine scribe, for which I cannot include a guaranteed price or indeed a stockist. It is being “shipped” from 3 September, and will be available from the “usual great merchants” at a “stable” price. I guess this means it will be sold for around the £60-mark and your search engine will provide the rest of the information you require.

I trust you will forgive this lack of clarity, but I wanted the timing of this piece to be spot on, not least because this is the most remarkable young Constance I have ever tasted (and I have seen a few!). This epic sweetie, fashioned from super-sweet muscat de frontignan grapes, and coming from one of the most dramatic properties in the Cape, uses a recipe handed down from the 1700s. Adored by Dickens, Baudelaire, Brontë and Napoleon, to name but a few luminaries, this inspirational wine is one of the only truly great sweet wines which tastes stunning from the off and then matures gracefully for an eternity.

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I didn’t write down any florid descriptors in my tasting notes this time. I simply wrote “pristine sunshine + perfect site = sheer heaven”.

Matthew Jukes is a winner of the International Wine & Spirit Competition’s Communicator of the Year (

Matthew Jukes

Matthew Jukes has worked in the UK wine business for well over three decades and during this time has written 14 wine books.  

Matthew regularly lectures, judges, speaks at wine conferences and runs masterclass tastings for both corporate and private clients all over the world. Matthew is also the creator of his ground-breaking initiative, the One Day Wine School, an indulgent day of tasting and learning first performed in 2006.

He has been the MoneyWeek wine correspondent since 2006 and has written a weekly column for the Daily Mail’s Weekend Magazine since 1999. His four highly-acclaimed, annual wine reports – the Burgundy En Primeur Report, the Bordeaux En Primeur Report, the Piemonte Report and the 100 Best Australian Wines – are published on his website,

Matthew is one of the world’s leading experts on Australian wine and, with Brisbane-based wine writer Tyson Stelzer, runs an annual competition in Australia to find ‘The Great Australian Red’.  He was made Honorary Australian of the Year in the UK at the 2012 Australia Day Foundation Gala dinner. 

Matthew is a winner of the International Wine and Spirit Competition's Communicator of the Year Trophy.  His thoughts, recommendations and tastings notes are followed very closely by the wine world at large.