Trophy winners at the Amorim Cap Classique Challenge:
From left: Danie Keulder (Constantia Uitsig: Best Blanc de Blancs), Anton Smal (Newstead: Best Extended Aging), Megan Mullis (Domaine des Dieux: Best Brut and Best Producer), Charl Schoeman (Simonsig: Best Nectar and Best Rosé) and Shane Mullis, also from Domaine des Dieux.
Domaine des Dieux, the boutique Cap Classique specialist from the Hemel-en-Aarde Ridge appellation near Hermanus etched its name in the annals of the Amorim Cap Classique Challenge by winning the show’s trophy for Best Producer for the third time in eight years. At the 21st Amorim Cap Classique Challenge held on 22 September at Tintswalo Atlantic in Cape Town, Domaine des Dieux Claudia Brut Cap Classique 2016 was named best wine overall out of the 126 entries to this year’s competition.
Domaine des Dieux also won the competition’s Best Producer award in 2014 and 2018. The competition is exclusively committed to honouring the country’s leading Cap Classique wines, having been held under the guidance of the Cap Classique Producers Association and sponsored by international cork company Amorim since 2002. Besides its Best Producer Trophy, Domaine des Dieux won two gold medals, also for its Claudia Brut.
The 2015 vintage took gold in the Brut section of the competition, while Claudia Brut 2008 won gold in the Extended Aging Class for wines of eight years or older. Claudia is a blend of the two classic Cap Classique varieties Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Domaine des Dieux’s overall winning Cap Classique topped the competition’s category for Brut wines.
The trophy for Best Blanc de Blancs went to Constantia Uitsig MCC 2018, while Plettenberg Bay stalwart Newstead took the top prize in the Extended Aging class for its Blanc de Blancs 2015. Simonsig Estate from Stellenbosch won two classes taking Best Rosé with the Kaapse Vonkel Brut Rose 2020 as well as Best Nectar for its Vonkel Satin Nectar Rose 2020. Joaquim Sá, MD of Amorim Cork South Africa and a founder of the Cap Classique Challenge, says that Domaine des Dieux’s showing at this year’s event underscores the competition’s importance in recognising consistently excellent Cap Classique producers.
“It is always exciting to see new and unknown wineries performing at this Cap Classique competition, but the barometer of consistent excellence, such as shown by Domaine des Dieux in winning Best Producer three times in eight years, is one on which an image and reputation of greatness is built,” he says. “Image and reputation in the crafting of Cap Classique have laid the foundation for this wonderful South African category which can compete with some of the finest bottle-fermented sparkling wines from any country in the world.
As sponsors and co-founders of the Amorim Cap Classique Challenge, we feel honoured to have been a part of the tremendous inroads Cap Classique has made over the past two decades.” Sá says Cap Classique is one of the most popular premium wine categories in South Africa with annual sales nipping at 11m bottles a year.
“The popularity of Cap Classique can be ascribed to product excellence and diversity, as well as innovative marketing from producers portraying their wines as an integral part of a fashionable lifestyle. This combination of wine quality and vivid, fresh marketing makes Cap Classique the exciting and leading category it is.” At this year’s Amorim Cap Classique Challenge the Frans Malan Legacy Trophy was awarded to Jeff Grier who as proprietor and winemaker of Villiera played a major role in developing and expanding the Cap Classique category.
This judging panel for the 2022 Amorim Challenge was convened by Heidi Duminy, Cape Wine Master. Assisting her were wine educator Cathy Marston, winemakers Morgan Steyn (De Grendel), Johan Fourie (Benguela Cove) and Nathan Valentine (Villiera) and wine service ambassador Spencer Fondaumiere. Tarryn Vincent from Reciprocal was an associate judge.