Method Cap Classique (or as our wine squad likes to call it: Bubbly Wubbly Sparkly Warkly)
If you follow me on Instagram (@capeofgoodwine), you’d have noticed my attempt at finding a greater appreciation for sparkling wines. I’ve never been one to crave a sparkling wine. And, much to the dismay of many, I don’t particularly enjoy the finer sparkling wines of the world. Yup, I’m looking at you Champagne. You’ve always been a bit meh in my opinion. So I devised a plan to immerse myself in sparklings in the hope of finding the spark(le) that so many knowledgeable people obsess over.
Being South African, the best place to start was with Methode Cap Classique, our traditional method sparkling wine. As you well know, the key component to methode traditionale wines is that the second fermentation occur in the bottle in which it is sold. Versus the second fermentation taking place in tank (Cava) or the entire process taking place in tank (Prosecco) or a quick and easy carbonation.
A quick recap of the traditional method process for those who need it (in nifty infographic format…you’re welcome!):
Now that the designer-y stuff is over and done with, you’ll also know that wines made in the Champagne method are not allowed to be called Champagne unless they’re from the actual French Champagne region.
But is there a difference between the wines? A noticeable difference was that South African MCC’s need only have 9 months on the lees. But, from 2020, this will increase to 12 months on the lees, and 3 months of bottle age. Thus, aligning itself with the Champagne requirements.
So how did my sparkling wine appreciation adventure go? The biggest takeaway was that I’d exaggerated my dislike of sparkling wine. It will never be my first choice of wine to open, but it’s nowhere near as offensive as I’d made it out to be. The second revelation is that sparkling wine is meant to be enjoyed with company. All too often I open bottles of wine solo. I’ll have a glass or two, stick a cork in the leftovers and place it in the fridge for the next day. That’s a bit harder to do with bubbles.
It must be noted that there are a handful of bubbly wubbly sparkly warkly’s that I absolutely adore – always have and always will. So herewith my standouts…with 2 new finds!
Steenberg Sparkling Sauvignon Blanc – not technically an MCC, but it still counts in my books! (Sadly, no picture…but I’ll fix this asap) Available here: https://www.steenbergfarm.com
High Constantia Clos Andre MCC – not always available, so quickly purchased when we do see it. Available here: https://highconstantia.co.za
Silverthorn The Genie NV MCC – a rosé Shiraz sparkling wine that was a new discovery for me. Available here: https://www.silverthornwines.co.za
Ambeloui MCC – a tiny producer in Hout Bay who opens their doors only twice a year to offer their wines – I’m a big fan of all their vintages. When they are available, you’ll find them here: http://www.ambeloui.co.za
Simonsig Kaapse Vonkel NV MCC – both the rosé (surprisingly made with a large percentage of Pinotage) and their brut have been our absolute favourites for many years. Find our ‘house’ MCC here: https://www.simonsig.co.za
Villiera Brut Natural 2015 MCC – a new wine for me and one that I didn’t expect to like, but thoroughly enjoyed. If you’re not getting it from Vino Pronto, then you can find them here: http://www.villiera.com
Le Lude, absolutely everyone’s favourite, can be found here: https://www.lelude.co.za
The sparkling wine mission continues, but at a much slower pace. Did I find a greater appreciation for sparklings? No, not really. I’ve just found an appreciation for enjoying sparkling wines given the right time and place…and most importantly, with friends.