Apparently the South African wine Vin de Constance is on the menu at a masked ball that Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele go to in the trilogy’s second book, 50 Shades Darker. Vin de Constance is a dessert wine made by Klein Constantia which is 10 miles from Cape Town, South Africa. The winery’s been around since the 1660’s but now 50 Shades fans are going there in droves. Managing director Hans Astrom told the Daily Mail, “We’re asked every day by people coming into our tasting rooms about the wine appearing in the book.”
I’ve never had it but it’s supposed to be one of the best dessert wines in the world and goes for about $50 in the states. It’s made from shriveled up, concentrated Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains (Muscat de Frontignan) grapes. Here are the winery’s tasting notes from the 2004 vintage, which is the one in the book:
Bright golden in colour, the nose is filled with tropical aromas of dried pineapple, mango and with raisined, caramelised notes. The palate has a fresh acid entry which develops richness and envelopes the mouth in a fusion of tropical flavours tapering to a lingering, delicate finish.”
It does sound pretty seductive! And this is probably better writing than what’s in the books.
Vin de Constance has also been mentioned in Dickens’ The Mystery of Edwin Drood and in Austen’s Sense and Sensibility, where it’s prescribed for Marianne Dashwood for its “healing powers on a disappointed heart.” But as a Daily Mail sub-headline noted, “Tipple also appeared in Jane Austen’s works but did not see same effect.”