14 December 2010 by Robyn Campbell

Best Cap Classiques

With the holiday season underway what better way to get in the party spirit than with a bottle of South African Cap Classique?

A visit to any bottle store will reveal a local preference for sweet sparkling wines. Don’t take these super-sweet carbonated cordials to be a reflection of South African MCC’s, as there some exceptionally good, competitively priced local MCC’s to help you see 2010 to a festive, fizzy close.

Traditionally, South African Cap Classiques are made using Chenin Blanc or Sauvignon Blanc grapes, but more winemakers are adding Pinot Noir and Chardonnay to their repertoire.

Graham Beck’s Cuvée Clive (2003) is a delicious example, made from whole-bunch pressed Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes. Only produced in exceptional years, it’s yeasty, with a delicate balance of floral and fruit aromas, and fresh acidity.

Klein Contantia Brut (2006) is a very popular local MCC, made with from 100% Chardonnay grapes. My personal favourite, it’s pale-coloured, and lively with zingy green apple and citrus aromas, delicate bubbles and a creamy mouth feel.

If you like a bold, fruity bubbly, Boschendal’s Grand Cuvée Brut (2006) will pop your cork. A blend of 58% Pinot Noir and 42% Chardonnay, the nose is fresh and green with hints of almond biscotti, pleasant minerality, and a long lasting mousse.

Lastly, a bubbly especially for the ladies. Made from 63% Pinotage, 29% Pinot Noir, and 8% Pinot Meunier, Simonsig’s Kaapse Vonkel Brut Rosé (2008) is salmon pink in colour with upfront strawberry aromas, a whiff of rose petals, delicate mousse, and a long creamy finish.

Incidentally, Simonsig is also the first wine producer to release a no-added-sulphur Pinot Noir Brut (2009).

Composed of 95% Pinot Noir and 5% Chardonnay, careful selection of yeasts (certain yeasts actually form sulphur dioxide in wine) and mindful housekeeping to prevent spoilage (oxidation), means sulphur-sensitive celebrants can also indulge in a glass or 3 of bubbly this holiday season. The Simonsig Pinot Noir Brut is available exclusively at responsible retailer Woolworths.

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