Click here to enter my other blog: Jane Austen's World.

Monday, August 9

Vin de Constance

Several months ago, on Jane Austen Today, Raquel Sallaberry posted an article about a wine that Jane Austen refers to in Sense and Sensibility: "Jane Austen and Wine: The Sweet Wines of Constantia."

Here is a quotation from Raquel's blog:
In Sense and Sensibility, Mrs. Jennings, like every good soul, believes that is possible to cure all illness with a drop of any beverage - from water with sugar to wine. After Marianne's unfortunate encounter with Willoughby in London, she has a conversation with Elinor:

“My dear,” said she, entering, “I have just recollected that I have some of the finest old Constantia wine in the house that ever was tasted, so I have brought a glass of it for your sister. My poor husband! how fond he was of it! Whenever he had a touch of his old colicky gout, he said it did him more good than any thing else in the world. Do take it to your sister.”
As Marianne was already asleep, Elinor, even amused at the vaunted efficiency of that wine for so many problems, decided to drink herself, the wine, since she's also had her heart broken too!

This was an opportunity too good to waste. I did a quick Google search for wine merchants in South London that might sell this amazing, Vin de Constance. I came up with two very near where I live. ”South African Wines,” near Colliers Wood tube station and, “Wimbledon Wine Merchants,” just off Wimbledon High Street. I cycled into Wimbledon first and struck lucky immediately. Wimbledon Wine Merchants had four bottles on their shelf.

Yesterday, Marilyn (my wife) and I opened our precious bottle of Vin de Constance and imbibed.
The bottle is curvaceous in a rugged, peasant sense. The neck is sheathed in a tight, smooth black waxen sleeve, soft to the touch. The wine had a syrupy aroma with a slight lemon tang. We poured a little of it into our two glasses. Subtle aromas pervaded my senses, cinnamon, lemon, blackcurrant, natural sugars. Then we both sipped, experiencing this pleasure together.

Marilyn and I sat, satiated, complete, with the sensory pleasures of Vin de Constance.

To imagine that Jane Austen must have experienced the sensual delights of this wine as we had, made an emotional and imaginative connection to her. We wanted more.

Posted by Tony Grant, London Calling


Raquel said...


so, you and your wife love Vin de Constance!

I have not yet prove it (sigh)

Lovely photos!

Southerner said...

You will have to come over to England, Raquel and join Marilyn and me in a bottle.

Anne Shirley said...

Very interesting. I agree with you when you say that you felt near Jane drinking this wine. I wish I could drink it some day. I love drink wine, and a good one, like this seems to be.
Good day =)

Raquel said...


I would love join you and Marily!