Cap Classique maestro Pieter Ferreira assembles a case of the very best bubbly SA

ASKED to come up with a line-up of wines he “considered as South Africa’s aspirational Cap Classiques” that wine lovers won’t buy or drink every day, Graham Beck cellarmaster Pieter Ferreira chose a selection that he regarded as “under the radar but sparkling up a storm”. His presentation along these lines was at the 2015 Cape Wine trade show in the Mother City where his pick was restricted to nine bottle-fermented wines, whereas on further consideradation he says he would have preferred to put together a case of 12 to better illustrate the various points discussed.

A leading ambassador for Méthode Cap Classique (MCC) and one of the top SA winemakers specialising in the traditional method of bubbly production made famous by the grande marque Champagne houses of France, Ferreira says he wanted to show wines that express the diversity in geographical differences, something that he feels is now definitely emerging. He also points to the various styles: the Blanc de Blancs from Chardonnay versus the blends including Pinot Noir, perhaps also some Pinot Meunier, the various degrees of wooding versus unwooded, and the time-on-the-lees in terms of the complexity that the spent yeast brings to the wine.

Here then is the showcase proposed by the master:

FROM THE CONSTANTIA WINE ROUTE:
Steenberg Lady R – 60% Pinot Noir 40% Chardonnay, Current Vintage 2010, R395 pb

FROM ELGIN:
Charles Fox Cipher – 50% Pinot Noir 50% Chardonnay, Current Vintage 2011, R400 pb

FROM FRANSCHHOEK:
Colmant Brut Chardonnay NV – R220 pb
La Motte Méthode Cap Classique – 65% Chardonnay 35% Pinot Noir, Current Vintage 2012, R360 pb
Le Lude Brut – Chardonnay & Pinot Noir & Pinot Meunier, R170 pb

FROM HEMEL-EN-AARDE, HERMANUS:
Domaine des Dieux Claudia – 90% Chardonnay 10% Pinot Noir, Current Vintage 2009, R155 pb

FROM ROBERTSON:
Bon Courage Jacques Bruére Blanc de Blancs – Chardonnay, Current Vintage 2009, R150 pb
Graham Beck Cuvée Clive – Chardonnay & Pinot Noir, Current Vintage 2009, R580 pb

FROM STELLENBOSCH:
Desiderius Pongrácz – 70% Chardonnay 30% Pinot Noir, Current Vintage 2008, R375 pb
Simonsig Cuvée Royale Blanc de Blancs – Chardonnay, Current Vintage 2010, R242 pb
Villiera Monro Brut – 55% Chardonnay 45% Pinot Noir, Current Vintage 2008, R182 pb

FROM TULBAGH:
Krone The Phoenix NV – Chardonnay & Pinot Blanc & Pinot Noir, to be launched end-2015, R280 pb

Soooo… what was there no room for in the case of 12; was anything left out? Well, KWV of Paarl would probably object to the omission of their Laborie, and no doubt Boschendal of Franschhoek and Silverthorn of Robertson would feel that they deserve a look in. Also, Simonsig might put up a case for their Kaapse Vonkel and JC Le Roux (Distell) for their Scintilla, but then they do position the Cuvée Royale and Desiderius as their respective No 1s.

For the current Cap Classique Classification, click here. For the bubbly producers who’ve enjoyed good reviews during the past couple of years, click here.