There’s nothing as chic as sipping sparkling wine in Franschhoek while savouring the gastronomic delights of the region. Renowned for producing outstanding Méthode Cap Classiques, the Franschhoek Wine Valley recently relaunched a Methode Cap Classique route which links 18 cellars from Backsberg and Boschendal to Haute Cabrière and Topiary.
On a recent trip to the valley we decided to visit some of the key producers, starting at Anthonij Rupert, situated at the old Graham Beck cellar. It’s the stylish new home to the Terra del Capo, Cape of Good Hope, Protea and L’Ormarins wine ranges and soon visitors will be able to spend and entire day there, sipping on the fine wines, enjoying leisurely lunches at the restaurants and exploring the massive property that forms part of L’Omarins. As from May 2013, the white wine cellar will be converted into a sparkling wine cellar to increase production.
We had a taste of the 2008 L’Ormarins Methode Cap Classique, the first MCC produced by Anthonij Rupert. The wine is dedicated to the first owner of L’Ormarins, Jean Roi who, by 1694, had planted over 4000 vines on the virgin slopes of the Groot Drakenstein Mountains. It’s one fine MCC and paired extremely well with the mini Egg Florentine and salmon salad. Priced at R110 a bottle, the 2008 L’Ormarins Methode Cap Classiqe is one of the best bubblies I’ve tasted in a while.
Our next stop was Topiary Wines, a boutique winery, nestle between the Wemmershoek, Groot Drakenstein and Simonsberg Mountains. The Topiary Blanc de Blanc 2009 was made from a small block of Chardonnay grapes that have shown a strong reflection of the unique terroir and soils in their bouquet and taste. Winemaker Mark Carmichael-Green is extremely excited about Methode Cap Classique style wines and believes that it’s putting South Africa on the map as front runners on the sparkling wine front.
From there, we moved onto Moreson, where hunky winemaker, Clayton Reabow welcomed us with a glass of Miss Molly MCC. This delightful and affordable sparkling wine is named after the Moreson family’s dog Miss Molly. Part of the label is in braille and a percentage of each sale is donated to the South African Guide Dog Association for the blind.
Moreson has 6 Methode Cap Classique wines under their portfolio, with each one containing Chardonnay. My personal favourite is the Solitaire NV, priced at R99 a bottle. The nose display hints of marmite and butter and finishes with crisp and fresh flavours of green apples on the palate. Pure bubbly heaven!
Leopard’s Leap was our penultimate stop, where we taste the Culiaria Brut. This dry bubbly is super elegant, with a long moreish finish. It’s a food friendly wine that complimented the delectable entrée style dishes, prepared by resident chef Pieter de Jager and his team.
We ended our tour at La Motte where we enjoyed a phenomenal lunch at Pierneef à La Motte while sampling the 2010 La Motte Methode Cap Classique. This well-made sparkling wine is an excellent example of the best the valley has to offer. The grapes come from vineyards all over South Africa and the end product displays our country’s diversity. La Motte’s MCC was the priciest out of the lot we tasted on the day at R300 a bottle, but the price tag is by no means unreasonable and I savoured every sip.
There’s no arguing that the Franschoek region produces some of South Africa’s best Methode Cap Classique style wines. The route makes sense in light of the annual bubbly festival and considering the significant number of Cap Classique producers in the area. The route provides visitors with a chance to compare the Cape’s best-selling Méthode Cap Classique brands on a specialised wine route.