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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.

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