South Africa’s Cap Classique is a leader in the bottle-fermented sparkling wine category produced in the New World, characterized by dedicated and committed producers who are in-tune with the scientific and technological requirements of sparkling wine production. Speaking during the tasting of the Amorim Tsogo Sun Cap Classique Challenge, Spanish judge Jaume Gramona, president of the CAVA Institute and a lecturer at the faculty of oenology at Universitat Rovira in Catalonia and a specialist in sparkling wines, said he was immensely impressed by the overall quality of Cap Classique.
(Top image caption: From left: Joaquim Sa, MD of Amorim Cork, Miguel Chan, Group Head Sommelier of Tsogo Sun, international judge Jaune Gramona and Allan Mullins, Chairman of the Judges’ Panel.)
“The wines are mostly well-made, clean and show the characteristics of controlled lees contact, one of the most important elements of bottle-fermented sparkling wine,” he said. “The older wines were especially impressive with character and depth. Having had access to Cap Classique producers over the past few days, I was also very impressed to see their commitment to technology, with one producer now even employing the state-of-the-art jetting-system.”
Gramona was on a panel of judges sifting through the exactly 100 entries received for this year’s Amorim Tsogo Sun Cap Classique Challenge including vintage wines, non-vintage, rosé and museum class.
Gramona, however, had some advice as to how the Cap Classique category could be improved.
“I sense that something more can be done on Cap Classique to position itself as truly unique,” he said. “Why not try varieties other than Pinot Noir and Chardonnay that will make South Africa stand-out, such as we in Spain have done with Cava?”
Joaquim Sa, MD of Amorim Cork SA, said the amount of entries received for this year’s Amorim Tsogo Sun Cap Classique Challenge vindicated Amorim’s belief that this was one of the most dynamic categories in the South African wine spectrum.
Miguel Chan, Group Sommelier for Tsogo Sun, managed the tasting process which was held at Tsogo Sun’s Cullinan Hotel in Cape Town.
“The results are in the hands of the judges, but diversity of style and quality are my impressions,” said Chan. “Logistically a sparkling wine judging is challenging to run. The wines must be of the consistent right temperature and the flights have to be served quickly to maintain the all-important bubble profile. This year the judges tasted from Burgundy glasses, the first time this was done at any South African sparkling wine competition. I believe these glasses ability to express aroma and hold flavour allowed the judges to experience the Cape Classiques at their best.”
The results of the Amorim Tsogo Sun Cap Classique Challenge will be announced at a function on 17 September.