20 October 2010

Best bubblies of South Africa

South Africa’s very best sparkling wines were recently honoured in the Amorim Cork Wine magazine Cap Classique Challenge.

Cape Winelands - home of fine wines The Cape Winelands

There’s no doubt that South Africa’s bubblies deserve their place in the sun. Although we might not be allowed to call our wines ‘Champagne’ or ‘Champenoise’, our Cap Classique varietals can hold their own in the global arena.

The Amorim Cork Wine magazine Cap Classique Challenge recently announced its winning list of South African sparkling wines. The competition is now in it's 9th year and is something of an industry yardstick when it comes to discerning the excellent ‘bubbly' from the good.

Wines were judged in 4 categories, namely Blanc de Blancs, Vintage, Non-Vintage and Rosé. The judging panel included 2 revered international judges - Nicolas Follet of Oenosense Consulting (Riems, France) and Hervé Dantan (chef de cave of Champagne Mailly Grand Cru).

The Best Overall award went to Bon Courage Jacques Bruére Blanc de Blancs 2007, based in the Robertson wine valley. What is interesting to note is the varietal started out as an experiment by winemaker Jacques Bruwer on the family's property in the early nineties - and is now a flagship wine for the Bon Courage label. Bruwer attributes the success to a number of factors, including the stone-based chalky soils in the Robertson wine region, the fact that the vines are between 16 and 22 years old and that the grapes spent 36 months on the lees. Bon Courage last won the Cap Classique Challenge in 2004 with the Jacques Bruére Brut Reserve 2000.

In the additional categories, the Best Vintage went to Kumkani Infiniti Brut 2004, the Best Rosé went to Pongracz Rosé and Pongracz (Classic) walked off with the award for Best Non-Vintage.

There's no doubt that South Africa's bubblies deserve their place in the sun. Although we might not be allowed to call our wines ‘Champagne' or ‘Champenoise', our Cap Classique varietals can hold their own in the global arena.