’Tis the season to be bubbly
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.