Bubbles in South Africa.
Let's play a game. Imagine a time in the future, when this pandemic is long behind us. You have gotten your flu and your Covid vaccines and you are headed to the airport.
The Breede River Valley, to be exact.
I travelled there virtually last week in a wine tasting with Cellarmaster Pieter Ferreira of the amazing Graham Beck Winery. We took a deep dive into their sparkling wines called Cap Classique. Remember that a sparkling wine can only be called Champagne if it is made in the Champagne region of France. These South African bubblies are made in the exact same method as Champagne (meaning secondary fermentation inside the bottle--a very labor intensive process), and so, in 1992, the category Méthod Cap Classique (MCC) was established to give these wines the attention they deserved.
We tasted through three wines from Graham Beck's Vintage Collection:
The Brut Zero (2012): 77% Pinot Noir, 23% Chardonnay
The Blanc de Blancs (2015): 100% Chardonnay
The Brut Rosé (2014): 85% Pinot Noir, 15% Chardonnay
*The disgorgement date was printed on the back label of each wine (all of the above disgorged in May 2019).
I don't have to tell you that sparkling wines are the most food-friendly wines on the planet, right? And these wines, with their wonderful acidity, extended time on the lees and purity of fruit had my head racing with all the amazing foods I would pair them with. The Blanc de Blancs was round, with great mouthfeel and screamed to be matched with sushi or fresh seafood while the rosé, with its fruitiness and slight smokiness had fellow wine writers commenting on Zoom about pairings with fried chicken and smoked BBQ. Yes, please. This southern girl approves.
The Blanc de Blancs has been voted the "best bottle fermented sparkling wine in the world" by the International Wine and Spirits Competition. And their Brut NV (not pictured) has been called "The President's Choice" as it was served at Nelson Mandela's inauguration and Barack Obama's presidential win.
To top it off, Graham Beck delivers beautiful wines in sustainable ways. Doing their part for the planet, they irrigate their vines using recycled water (almost 800,000 gallons per month) and use a solar panel system which creates enough energy to equal one ton of carbon dioxide daily (if it were generated by a coal plant).
Does Cap Classique have your attention yet? Good. Because aside from being delicious, these bottles bring a tremendous value (under $30). And just in time. September 1st is Cap Classique day. Salud!