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Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - GOODVIBES -

THE FIFTH an­nual Magic of Bub­bles fes­ti­val takes place this week­end on the lawns in front of the Huguenot mon­u­ment in Fran­schhoek – a sparkling so­cial event by any­one’s stan­dards.

Part of a cal­en­dar of food, wine and mu­sic fes­ti­vals in this pic­turesque val­ley, the Magic of Bub­bles is the one-stop shop for lovers of this mag­i­cal bev­er­age.

Nick Davies, owner of Fran­schhoek Pass Win­ery where he makes a small bou­tique se­lec­tion of bub­blies un­der the Morena la­bel, and is also on the fes­ti­val com­mit­tee, says this year’s fes­ti­val will be even bet­ter with about 40 lo­cal meth­ode cap clas­siques and 15 Cham­pagnes to sam­ple, with com­ple­men­tary nib­blies from some of the restau­rants in the re­gion.

“It’s all about glam­our, style and fun,” he says. “We’ve moved things around a bit for a bet­ter flow and a bet­ter view of the mon­u­ment. There will be wines from pro­duc­ers large and small, and for the first time Moet & Chan­don and Veuve Clic­quot will have a com­bined dis­play.

“We en­cour­age vis­i­tors to dress up in the theme of black and white, and there will be prizes for the best dressed.”

Along with mu­si­cal per­for­mances by Coda and Ger­ald Clark, there will be oys­ters, straw­ber­ries, smoked salmon and lots of gor­geous wines.

But what ex­actly will you be drink­ing? Only meth­ode cap clas­siques and Cham­pagnes, says Davies. Sim­ply put, Cham­pagne – which can only be called such when it is made in the Cham­pagne re­gion of France – is a sparkling wine which is made by sec­ondary in-bot­tle fer­men­ta­tion in­duced by yeast and sugar which cre­ates the bub­bles. This meth­ode cham­p­enoise, or cap clas­sique, is the same way lo­cal pro­duc­ers make their sparkling wines and the stan­dard of ours is high, says Davies.

Prob­a­bly one of the most fa­mous quotes about Cham­pagne is that at­trib­uted to Bene­dic­tine monk Dom Perignon who cried out: “Come quickly! I have tasted the stars!” af­ter a happy ac­ci­dent with the fer­men­ta­tion which he was try­ing to pre­vent.

An­other French­man who loved cham­pagne was Napoleon, who said “In vic­tory one de­serves it; in de­feat one needs it.”

Takuan von Arnim of Haute Cabriere, home to Pierre Jour­dan, says: “The beauty of Cham­pagne is that it is so ver­sa­tile. Its bub­bles keep the palate in­spired and clean. It’s like jump­ing on a cloud and you can de­cide when you want to get off. The ladies love it, and I love the ladies.”

High­lights at the fes­ti­val in­clude: The One 2007, More­son’s first vin­tage sparkler, a blend of 60 per­cent chardon­nay and 40 per­cent pinot noir from Din­ers Club young wine­maker of the year in 2009 Clay­ton Re­abow; and the new brut rosé from Al­lée Bleue, its first cap clas­sique and only the sec­ond wine pro­duced by award-win­ning wine­maker Van Zyl du Toit.

“What is ex­cit­ing for me as well as More­son is the es­tab­lish­ment of Fran­schhoek as a cap clas­sique des­ti­na­tion,” says Re­abow. “What is of even greater im­por­tance is the num­ber of winer­ies fol­low­ing the trend to pro­duce their own cap clas­siques. The fes­ti­val of­fers op­por­tu­ni­ties for winer­ies to launch new meth­ode cap clas­siques. There are many fine French Cham­pagnes on of­fer for tast­ing that can be re­garded as great ex­am­ples to com­pare against our lo­cal pro­duce.”

The Magic of Bub­bles runs from noon till 6pm to­day and to­mor­row. Tick­ets are R180 (book at www.webtick­ets.co.za) and in­clude 10 tast­ing coupons and a glass. For de­tails, call Fran­schhoek Wine Val­ley Tourist As­so­ci­a­tion at 021 876 2861.

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