Prats and de Bouard to bring French flair to Klein Contstantia
Former Château Cos d’Estournel owner Bruno Prats and Château Angelus co-owner Hubert de Bouard are keen to bring French flair to South African estate Klein Constantia, which merged with the pair’s South African venture Anwilka Vineyards this June.
Speaking to the drinks business during a vertical tasting of Vin de Constance going back to 1986 at the estate during Cape Wine last week, Prats praised the quality of Klein Constantia’s famous sweet wine, Vin de Constance.
“It is totally different to Château d’Yquem in style, but I truly believe it is at the same quality level, and has equally good ageing potential,” he said.
“The estate already has its own rich history, and I don’t want to change things dramatically here. Hubert and I want to build on its success and improve Vin de Constance’s quality even further,” he added.
Klein Constantia managing director Hans Astrom agreed that there is still room for improvement with the estate’s jewel in the crown.
“Vin de Constance needs a bit of repair. There’s still a lot of work to be done and we’re investing the time, effort and energy into getting it right,” he said.
Astrom also hinted that Château Angelus, the 1982 vintage of which made a cameo in Casino Royale, will appear in the latest James Bond film, Skyfall, starring Daniel Craig and Javier Bardem, which hits cinema screens this month.
“I’ve heard Angelus is going to be in the film. Hubert de Bouard has a good relationship with the producers, the Broccoli family,” he told db.
Prats meanwhile, revealed he is planting less Cabernet Sauvignon and more Syrah at his Stellenbosch estate, as he feels it has tremendous potential in South Africa.
“I’m moving away from traditional Bordeaux blends towards more Rhône-style blends. I’m also looking into Malbec, which is doing surprisingly well in the Constantia Valley,” he told db.
As to whether he would ever consider following Lafite’s lead into China, Prats is fiercely anti the move.
“Planting in China is far too risky, it’s a huge gamble. I’m aware Lafite has planted there, but under what criteria? There’s not enough evidence of quality yet for me to risk it.
“We don’t know where the great terroirs of China are yet. I won’t be entering there in my lifetime,” he said.
He has however ventured into Spain, with a 100% Monastrell from Alicante dubbed Alfinal, in reference to the fact that it is his last foreign project.
“The first vintage of Alfinal – 2009 – is on the market and is selling really well in Spain and the Far East – almost all of it has been reserved for those two markets,” he said.
Created in 2005 by Prats, de Bouard and former co-owner of Klein Constantia Lowell Jooste, Anwilka Vineyards in Stellenbosch was best known for its Syrah-Cabernet blends.
Prats and de Bouard remain minority shareholders in the new company, Klein Constantia Ltd, which comprises nearly 200 hectares across the Constantia Valley and Sellenbosch, producing around 500,000 bottles a year.