Methode Cap Classique has become a very strong category in the new age of South African winemaking but very few attempt to push and break the boundaries of traditional champagne styles of these wines. Most MCC wines in South Africa are based on champagne varieties and a plethora of styles are overlooked. Being known as one of the top producers of the Loire variety, Chenin Blanc, it was only apt that our MCC was inspired by Cremant de Loire styles of bottle fermented sparkling wines.
Grapes are selected from specially grown vineyards in the Bottelary and Helderberg wards of Stellenbosch: Cabernet Franc from the Helderberg and Chenin Blanc and Chardonnay from the cooler Bottelary Hills. Chenin Blanc and Chardonnay are picked at 18 Balling and Cabernet Franc a bit riper at 20 Balling to avoid excessive green and leafy notes in the wine and to allow a bigger contribution of riper red cherries and berries, yet retaining freshness and purity.
Bunches are pressed whole over a 3 hour pressing cycle. A new inertys press was introduced which ensures bunches are protected with inert gas during the whole bunch pressing cycle. The Chenin Blanc is tank fermented with wild yeasts and kept on the fermentation lees for 7 months. The Chardonnay and Cabernet Franc are also wild yeast fermented but in 3rd and 4th fill French oak barrels. After 7 months lees ageing, it is blended with the Chenin Blanc, fined and made bottle ready.
A special yeast culture is grown over a 1 week period and the wine re-inoculated with residual sugar when bottled with a crown cap closure. Second fermentation in the bottle is securely monitored and pressure gauged over a 4 week period. After the fermentation has been completed, the wine is matured at least 18 months in the bottle on fermentation lees with frequent riddling, prior to disgorging and corking. The sparkling is finished off with cork and allowed another 3 months to settle prior to release.
34 year old Chenin Blanc vineyards (bush vine), decomposed granite, Bottelary
12 year old Chardonnay vineyards (trellised), sandy soil, Bottelary
18 year old Cabernet Franc vineyards (trellised), decomposed granite, Helderberg
Time spent on lees
8 months after first fermentation in tanks and barrels and 18 months after second fermentation in the bottle
A wine for any celebratory occasion. It pairs excellently with fresh oysters with a cranberry dressing or spicy seafood dishes and proves to be great company for fresh garden salads with a coriander twist.