It’s the festive season so it makes perfect sense to celebrate everything. Celebrate life, celebrate the holidays, celebrate the season – and there is nothing that says “celebrations’ better than a great bottle of bubbly, or sparkling wine, known in South Africa as Method Cap Classique.
Word: Ndumiso Mngadi
The term “champagne” can only be used for sparkling wine originating from the regions of Champagne, France. This month we explore the bubbling splendour of John Loubser
The Green Man 2015- by John Loubser
Notes : The Green Man was hand harvested in mid-January 2015 in the early hours of the morning at 19 degrees balling. The grapes were whole bunch pressed with a very low recovery rate of only 600 litres per ton – this ensures that no bitter tannins are extracted. Fermentation took place in a stainless-steel tank at 15 degrees Celsius and a small portion was barrel fermented to enhance complexity. Secondary fermentation occurred in the bottle and the wine spent a minimum time of 24 months on the lees after which it was manually riddled and degorged.
This beautiful wine is vibrant green/yellow with hue – fine twirling bead of bubbles. On the nose it Fresh with aromas of green apple and acacia blossom backed up by subtle hints of minerality and whiffs of freshly baked brioche. than on the palate it well balanced with an elegant structure, fine mousse which imparts a gentle explosion of bubbles on the palate and a long finish.
Alc – 12% RS – 8g/l pH – 3.18 TA – 6.4g/l
Suggested food pairings
Over the festive season you want to pair this amazing MCC with Freshly shucked Namibian oysters – salmon tartar with a zesty lime salsa – Beluga caviar and blini.
Jewel Box 2013- by John Loubser
Notes: In order to complete the trio, the aim with Jewel Box was to create a wine with emphasis on richness, opulence and complexity. The inspiration for this style would be two of my all-time favorite Champagnes namely, Krug and Bollinger. The grapes were hand harvested in mid-January 2013 and gently whole bunch pressed to recover a maximum of only 550 litres per ton. Fermentation of the Chardonnay was split between stainless steel and old French oak barrels while the Pinot Noir was only fermented in stainless steel. This creates the basis of complex building blocks which are critical when it comes to the final blending. A further technique of using a reserve portion of Chardonnay which has spent 12 months in old French barrels also adds a very interesting blending component. The final blend consists of 60% Chardonnay and 40% Pinot Noir. The wine spends a minimum of 42 months on the lees in order to develop. In appearance it light straw yellow with elegant fine bubbles. with very complex aromas of roasted almonds, marzipan and subtle hints of strawberry and cherry compote followed by zesty citrus nuances. To finish it off with very dry, rich and full – soft toasty creaminess with a beautiful palate weight.
Alc – 12% RS – 6g/l pH – 3.2 TA – 6.5g/l
Suggested food pairings:
This is a perfect MCC to be served on Christmas eve Dinner with Grilled game fish with rich mayo aioli – roasted quail with Champagne risotto and wild mushrooms.
The Genie NV- by John Loubser
Notes : The Genie was hand harvested in mid February in the early hours of the morning at 19 degrees balling. The grapes were whole bunch pressed with a very low recovery rate of only 550 liters per ton – this ensures that no bitter tannins are extracted and leaves the juice with a beautiful light purple colour. The colour gradually evolves into a salmon pink. Fermentation took place in a stainless-steel tank at 15 degrees Celsius. Secondary fermentation occurred in the bottle and the wine spent a minimum time of 15 months on the lees after which it was manually riddled.this is a beautiful Bright onion skin – fine twirling bead of bubbles. on the nose you get some exotic bouquet of Turkish delight and rose water. with a Fresh raspberries and sherbet flavours supported by a velvety texture, fine mousse and lengthy finish.
Alc – 11.9% RS – 8.6g/l pH – 3.09 TA – 7.2g/l
Suggested food pairings
Because this wine is very flamboyant you want to pair it with Salmon gravadlax on crisp rye toast – Parma ham and red figs – Strawberries macerated with black pepper.
Big Dog II 2011- by John Loubser
To this date they been only two released Cap Classique wines in this range namely Big Dog 2010 and Big dog II 2011. These wines are made exclusively for the Cape Winemakers Guild Auction and are limited to roughly 40 x 6 cases.
Notes: Both the Chardonnay and the Pinot Noir were picked by hand and then gently whole bunch pressed. The Chardonnay juice was barrel fermented and aged in large old French oak barrels to enhance the creaminess and complexity of the wine and to add palate weight. The Pinot Noir was tank fermented in order to accentuate the bright berry characters. After blending, the wine was bottle fermented and aged on the lees for 53 months. After degorging the wine was aged for a further six months on the cork. The Chardonnay imparts distinctive citrus and chalky characters while the Pinot Noir contributes strawberry nuances. 53 months on the lees results in a beautiful brioche and marzipan expression which is further enhanced by layers of vanilla from barrel aging.
Alc – 11.5% RS – 7.2g/l pH – 3.19 TA – 6.4g/l
Suggested food pairings:
Now this wine is more of a serious, classic and iconic wine. It is the kind of MCC you would want to drink after you just sealed a business deal. it would go perfectly with the Gamberi ala Padella