A Burst Of Bubbly Joy For Benguela Cove At Veritas

Exactly ten years after the establishment of the wine estate Benguela Cove near Hermanus, it now triumphed by taking the standout Vertex award among 1 247 selected entries at the 2023 Veritas Awards with its 2019 Joie de Vivre Cap Classique.

Not only did this flagship of three MCC styles from Benguela Cove Wine Estate take home the Duimpie Bayly Veritas Vertex Award for the overall champion wine, it also clinched the Best Achiever award for cellars with 10 or fewer entries and an impressive haul of three Double Gold and two Gold medals in the country’s foremost wine competition, known as the “Oscars” of SA wine.

This bottled celebration of the “joy of life” brought peak pleasure to cellarmaster Johann Fourie and his team for creating only the second Cap Classique to receive this pinnacle award since its inception in 2017, after marathon judging by 70 international and local specialists. Since the first release of Benguela Cove Cap Classique in 2017, all three vintages have now been awarded Veritas Double Gold status.

Sharing in this “dream come true” – with her bold vision to create a world-class, sophisticated wine destination here on the beautiful Bot River Lagoon and featuring 2.6 km of cool coastal vineyards at a mere 2.7 m above sea level – was owner and developer Penny Streeter OBE, dynamic entrepreneur from the UK.

As one of the Western Cape’s most prominent wine and eco-tourism destinations Benguela Cove is the epitome of luxury living. And at the heart of it all, lies the success of expressing the unique and ideal terroir traits in wines that tell their own story – as now manifested by the highlight moment of the prestigious Veritas Awards in the Cape Town International Conference Centre’s Ball Room where the handcrafted Vertex glass trophy went to cellarmaster Johann Fourie.

This, in addition to that coveted Veritas Best Achiever title – in the class for ten wines or fewer entries. The Double Golds, of course included that bottle-fermented Benguela Cove Joie de Vivre Brut Cap Classique 2019, in addition to Vinography Sauvignon Blanc 2022 and Vinography Cabernet Sauvignon 2020 from the estate’s diverse cool climate style natural wines.

Said Johann Fourie,” We are very proud of the success and acknowledgement as this year’s Veritas Awards, especially considering our maiden vintage being as recent as 2017 and that this could be achieved from a relatively small size vineyard and producer that is focused and dedicated to produce wine from 100% estate-grown fruit.

“It’s pleasing to see both our red and white wines performing equally well, but if I could dream for one of our wines ever to be engraved on the Duimpy Baily Vertex trophy it would be our flagship Benguela Cove Joie de Vivre Cap Classique. Traditional method sparkling wine for us is a very big in-house focus with our sister property in the UK, House of Leonardslee, which is solely dedicated to the production of sparkling wine set for its maiden release next year June.

“This year saw Benguela Cove receiving three Veritas double golds for the third year in a row, the cherry on top being a hattrick of double golds for the Joie de Vivre – thus each vintage of this wine since the maiden release vintage boasting a double gold.

“We know that the pursuit of excellence is never done, but acknowledgments like these motivate us to persist in our journey and affirms that Benguela Cove is moving in the right direction in terms of wine style and quality. Awards like these are a testament to our terroir and methodology, and the support and backing of the estate owner, Penny Streeter.”

Fourie emphasises that the estate’s vineyards are unique. Dedicated to the craft of allowing each wine to tell its own story and only estate-grown grapes are used to encapsulate this quintessential cool climate.

The Cap Classique portfolio comprises the Cuvée 58, Cuvée 58 Rosé and flagship Joie de Vivre – the latter being “in a delicate style showcasing a special balance between primary fruit and complexity from maturation”.  Composed of Chardonnay 54% and Pinot Noir 46%.

The grapes, he explains, were hand harvested in the cool of the morning, the bunches hand-sorted and whole-bunch pressed. Only free-run juice fermented in stainless steel and barrels was used in the final blend to create its delicate taste and originality.

“Only partial malolactic fermentation (30%) was done on the base wines to preserve its crisp style, freshness, clean structure and fruit flavours. After blending and bottling, secondary fermentation took place in the bottle for four weeks at 15°C, followed by bottle maturation on the lees for 40 months before degorgement.

“This vintage captures the class and finesse chardonnay is known for in traditional sparkling wines all over the world. Inviting aromas nougat and shortbread biscuit are followed by intricate notes of citrus zest, lemon, lime and grapefruit that rise to the surface in a fine, vibrant mousse. Pinot Noir adds palate weight to balance the vibrant granny smith apple-like acidity, complete with an oyster shell-like minerality that adds to the length.

“A great food companion. Created to celebrate the moment,” concluded Fourie.

So, if ever there was a magic moment to celebrate for the Benguela Cove team, this is it. Certainly, there needs to be no holding back having Joie de Vivre MCC 2019 bursting out and living up to its joyful name!