Corks popping big time in Paarl following another rave review for Anura

cap-classique-challenge-logo-mcc_logo1113 ENTRIES, 93 laureates, 36 bronze medallists, 47 silvers and 11 gold medal winners. Only 11 duds. What a fantastic hit rate! And the grand champion at the 2016 Amorim Cap Classique Challenge from Paarl: Anura Brut 2011 – R180 a bottle from the tasting room at the farm in the foothills of the Simonsberg.

Anura Vineyards might not immediately spring to everybody’s mind when contemplating South Africa’s top sparkling wine cellars. They proclaim reds to be their forté, But consider the track record for their bubbly in recent years: the 2011 Brut is the same vintage awarded 5 Stars in Platter’s SA Wine Guide, the 2010 scored 4 Stars in the SA Wine Magazine, as did the 2007, and the 2009 won a trophy for Best in Class at the country’s Trophy Wine Show. Of the 200 or so Méthode Cap Classique producers, Anura is among the Top 20 and, compared to the price of Champagne imports, an absolute steal.

According to Anura winemaker Johnnie Calitz, most of the fruit for the Chardonnay Pinot Noir blend came from the farm, with some of the Chardonnay grapes from Robertson. “Extremely dry… crisp green apple notes, cinnamon spice and a subtle biscuit, yeast character.” Particularly good with fresh fruit or smoked trout or sushi.

At the latest MCC awards function the MD of sponsor Amorim Cork SA, Joaquim Sá, reflected that when the Challenge was first held back in 2002 the size of the locally-made bottle-fermented sparkling wine market was 700 000 bottles. By 2015, domestic sales had swelled to 3.5 million bottles and exports to 2.5m bottles. “Jewel in the South African crown,” he reckoned.

The Cap Classique Producers Association’s panel of judges were: chairman Allan Mullins CWM (Woolworths), sommelier Higgo Jacobs, wine educator Cathy Marston CWM, wine marketer Heidi Duminy CWM (Meridian), with winemakers Jeff Grier CWM (Villiera), Paul Gerber (Le Lude) and Linley Schultz (Alvi’s Drift). For more information, click here, and for all of the top-rated SA sparklers during the past two years, their availability and prices at the cellar door, see here.

Winners at 2016 Cap Classique Challenge


Anura Brut 2011 (Paarl cellar) – ‘Best Brut Blend’ and Overall Winner
Colmant Brut Chardonnay NV (Franschhoek cellar) – ‘Best Blanc de Blancs’
JC Le Roux Pinot Noir Rosé 2010 (Stellenbosch cellar) – ‘Best Rosé’
JC Le Roux Scintilla 2008 (Stellenbosch cellar) – ‘Best Museum Class’ Entry


Bon Courage Jacques Bruére Brut Reserve 2010 (Robertson cellar)
Domaine des Dieux Claudia Brut 2008 (Hemel-en-Aarde cellar)
Gabriëlskloof Madame Lucy’s 2014 (Bot River cellar)
Graham Beck Brut 1994 in Magnum (Robertson cellar)
Krone Borealis Brut 2013 (Twee Jonge Gezellen cellar in Tulbagh)
KWV Cathedral Cellar Brut 2011 (Paarl cellar)
Rickety Bridge Blanc de Blancs 2012 (Franschhoek cellar)