When I find either a wine I'm familiar with in a book, or a wine in real life that I've only previously met in literature, it's very much like meeting a friend. I'm even happier when a characters preferences run along the same lines as mine.
It's hard to express how excited I was to find that my local wine shop sells Constantia, or the depth of my shame when I say I still haven't bought it, never mind tried it. It's a terrible omission. Constantia has a venerable history, Klein Constantia was the first vineyard in South Africa (established in 1685), it's sweet wine a favourite of Napoleon's, mentioned by Dickens and Baudalaire - and most importantly (because this is where I first found mention of it, and so it's who I associate it with) by Jane Austen in 'Sense and Sensibility'.
The fortunes of Constantia have gone up and down over the years, and the wine available today is a 1980's recreation of the 19th century legend - which is quite good enough to satisfy me. Mrs Jennings recommends it for its healing properties on a disappointed heart which has the ring of personal experience about it. Anyone suffering from a disappointment could do worse than hit a bottle of really good dessert wine (in moderation, obviously) and any Austen fan could do much worse than purchase a bottle of this (maybe from Berry Brothers & Rudd who have been around almost as long as Constantia, and whose shop doesn't look like it can have changed much since Austen's day).
I was going to make it a Christmas present for myself, but spent the money on gin instead (Bath Gin, it has a winking Jane on the label, she presumably wouldn't have drunk gin though, I doubt it would have been respectable enough in her day - though someone may be able to correct me on this). Maybe in the new year (a bottle should be about £35-£40), but definatley the next time I re read any of her books. or if I suffer from a disappointed heart. There's something irresistible about being able to drink something she mentions like this; it's almost like being able to have a drink with her (well, sort of).