Liquid news and views
There’s something to be said for celebrating the ultimate celebratory drink. At the 2018 Amorim Cap Classique Challenge awards ceremony – which was held at the Nederburg estate in Paarl mid-August last year – glasses were raised and charged with some of the shining méthode cap classique (MCC) stars in the fizz business. This was the 17th year South African bottle-fermented bubbly took part in the competition – which is sponsored by Portugal-based cork company Amorim – and, according to Cape Wine Master and chairman of the judging panel, Heidi Duminy, SA’s bubbles are on the rise with this having been their best showing yet.
She expands: “The record-breaking 127 entries for last year’s competition were both exciting and encouraging and, as a panel, we were delighted by the overall standard across the classes. Every year there is a tangible step up in quality and intent, especially among the front runners. The advancement of quality on the whole has raised the bar across all styles, with time on lees clearly key to distinguishing the good from the exceptional.”
Another advantage for MCC is that, unlike Champagne, there is no restriction as to which grapes can be used in its production, meaning there are some sparkling stunners made from a variety of cultivars. That’s why, this month, we’re toasting to this wonderfully bubbly drink with a resounding “Cheers!”. DOMAINE DES DIEUX CLAUDIA BRUT MCC 2012, R210
Flying the flag for cool-climate MCC, the Claudia took top honours at the 2018 Amorim Cap Classique Challenge as Best Brut and Best Producer/Overall Wine. A classic blend of chardonnay and pinot noir, this MCC opens up with apple, white pear and lemon curd with a background note of red berry fragrance. Leading on from that, cranberry and pomegranate, with lashings of orange marmalade, evolve on the creamy midpalate, with an edge of salinity in the expansive finish. COLMANT CAP CLASSIQUE BRUT CHARDONNAY NV, R240
A beautiful expression of a chardonnay MCC: green apples cut through with a steel knife alongside lemons, limes and white blossoms. On the palate you’ll find plenty of citrus against a toasty, nutty backdrop, while a creamy mouthfeel winds down into a citrus-tinged tensile finish. It’s sheer elegance.