Our boots in the vineyard, Malu Lambert, uncorks Cap Classique.
Today in South Africa, 1 September—which also neatly happens to be the first day of spring for them—the country celebrates the 50th anniversary of Cap Classique, the Cape’s famous bottle-fermented sparkling wines.
Previously known by its longer moniker, Méthode Cap Classique or MCC, it has now been repositioned as Cap Classique in order to strengthen the term in the global market – MCC could be just about anything. The move comes in a bid to shine the spotlight on the high quality of the wines, which are made from Champagne grapes using the same methods but offer far greater value than the French equivalents meaning they’re accessible for everyone.
It began with a sparkle in Frans Malan’s eye…
On a trip to Champagne in 1968 winemaker Frans Malan of Simonsig was intrigued by the processes he witnessed in the chalk cellars of the bubble’s holyland.
Back home he procured rudimentary equipment, built his own riddling racks, and from the Simonsig harvest of 1971 made the first bottle-fermented sparkling wine with South Africa’s favourite grape, Chenin Blanc. Then, as it is now, the most prolific white variety to be found in the national vineyard.
This first Cap Classique was released in 1973 by Simonsig under the name Kaapse Vonkel meaning ‘Cape Sparkle’. Today there are over 250 South African producers of Cap Classique.
And we are lucky to have some of the finest on our books. Let’s celebrate right along with South Africa today with this selection of 6 of our favourites in a handy, ready to go, mixed case.