’Tis the sea­son to be bub­bly

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s the fes­tive sea­son ap­proaches, it’s time to think of bub­bles. Sparkling wine will jazz up any oc­ca­sion and a bot­tle makes a great gift for a friend, fam­ily mem­ber or col­league. Here are three lo­cal beau­ties to con­sider. For fun, friv­o­lous fizz, give the Stel­len­bosch Hills Polka­draai Sparkling Pinot Noir (R75) a whirl. The pack­ag­ing is bold but el­e­gant and the wine has just the right mix of sweet­ness and acid­ity. It’s loaded with straw­berry flavours and there’s a hint of pome­gran­ate – a lovely wine to en­joy with a fruity sum­mer dessert. You could also drop a few berries into a glass and add a dash of brandy for a re­fresh­ing cock­tail. The wine­mak­ers at Steenberg are well known for their range of award-win­ning MCCs, but at the mo­ment one of their best-sell­ing fizzes isn’t one of them. MCC stands for Méth­ode Cap Clas­sique – the South African way of mak­ing tra­di­tional sparkling wine, where a sec­ond fer­men­ta­tion takes place in­side the bot­tle while it’s on the lees. The Steenberg Sparkling Sau­vi­gnon Blanc (R131) didn’t spend much time on the lees, which is why it can’t be called an MCC. This is be­cause the wine­mak­ers didn’t want to over­whelm the fresh fruit flavours with the creami­ness typ­i­cal of an MCC wine. The re­sult is light and zesty, with plenty of ap­ple notes and a spank­ingly crisp tail. If you’re look­ing for bub­bly with a dif­fer­ence, try the Von­del­ing Ru­rale Blanc de Noir 2015 (R265). It’s a Méth­ode Ances­trale wine – also not an MCC – and only one fer­men­ta­tion oc­curs, which starts in-tank and ends in the bot­tle. The re­sult is that the wine gets lots of lovely, salty con­tact with the lees. It’s an old and un­usual style of sparkling wine, but it cer­tainly makes for a talk­ing point around the braai! It’s de­li­cious, too, made from proudly South African pino­tage with notes of straw­berry short­cake and lots of frothy bub­bles.

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