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February 21, 2006

Champagne-Nectar of the Gods or just good marketing? Probably a little bit of both. I'm doing a Bubbly tasting this weekend and looking forward to it BIG TIME as I'm a great lover of Champagne and Sparkling wine for that matter but then of course it has to be made according to THE METHOD. Secondary Fermentation, disgorgement and of course the magic yeast cells in the bottle to start of with and let's not forget the remuage, that age old French Tradition of turning the bottles until they virtually stand upright to move the yeast cells to the neck of the bottle, now replaced by mechanical cages in the New World. A video of this process is available on this link. The official Champagne website.

I don't think that a Method Cap Classique as they are called here in South Africa could ever quite have the complexity of a real French one unless they are aged and meticulously made with of course the right grapes. A lot of Sparkling wines are not always made from Chardonnay, Pinot meaner and Pinot Noir. I have had some marvelous examples from Vouvray made from Chenin with a touch of sugar for the not so dry palates.
South Africa has some good examples in the form of Graham Beck, Jacques Bruere and Simonsig- all former Cap Classique Champions. If you find yourself in Franschoek though the farm not to be missed is Haute Cabriere with some 5 different Cap Classiques and a traditional subrage done at every cellar tour.

As I always say, be adventurous and try something new, not only the well known brand names! and happy drinking.

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