Champagne is wine from the Champagne region in France made according to the Methode Champagnoise with three specific varieties of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. The ashen earth of the Champagne region produces a steely structure in sparkling wine that has not been replicated anywhere in the world. Champagne comes with an expensive price tag and the labels on French Champagne rarely state what method is used since it is the only method used. The only other style that will appear on the label is Charmat, which is a bulk process that produces flavourful Champagne.
South African bubbles
There’s a variety of excellent quality sparkling wines available in South Africa. Local winemakers have their own unique name: MCC, short for Methode Cap Classique, which is similar to champagne in terms of how it’s made, the longevity and quality of the bubbles. Like champagne, MCC is fermented in the bottle and it is considered the best quality local sparkling wine. Aside from MCC there are quite a few sparkling wines available – wine that has been fermented under pressure in a tank. A major plus for South African bubbly is the price tag. You’ll be able to enjoy a great bottle of sparkling wine at a reasonable price compared to the real deal.
“Our Cap Classiques in SA are uniquely the best alternative to Champagne. What makes them unique is they express sunshine in their bubbles. As we follow the exact same process as in Champagne our Cap Classiques offer exceptional value for money. This category is growing double digits year on year and our bubblies have become a lifestyle drink. Beautiful types have emerged over the years and there are great examples that express diversity of the different regions. There are a few favourites from bigger producers Pongracz NV, Graham Beck Brut NV and Krone’s Brut NV. Then there are specialist producers who only produce Cap Classique – the likes of Le Lude, Colmant Cap Classique & Champagne and Charles Fox Cap Classique Wine Estate,” says Pieter Ferreira, cellar master, Graham Beck Wines and chairman, the Cap Classique Association.
Words: Rita-Mari Ludike