South Africa’s Liquid Assets

The most famous sweet wine of the eighteenth century was beloved by Napoleon, esteemed in the courts of Europe, and praised in the novels of Jane Austen and Charles Dickens. Baudelaire transforms it in Les Fleurs du Mal. “Château d’Yquem?” you guess, picking the only sweet wine included as a First Growth in the Bordeaux classification of 1855.

Pas de tout. The wine is called “Vin de Constance.” It was, and is, produced in South Africa. The unlikelihood of its name and pedigree is only matched by the fact that Vin de Constance happens to be the favorite wine of Nelson Mandela.

Welcome to the world of startling juxtapositions that make up the Rainbow Nation.

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