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A toast!

3 December 2020  -  Wines of South Africa, Fiona McDonald

A month shy of 2021 – and the year which sees the 50th anniversary of the first bottling of Simonsig’s Kaapse Vonkel – the 2015 vintage of this bubbly won Johan Malan bragging rights to the Diners Club Winemaker of the Year title. Fitting that in the year in which Cap Classique was the Diners Club category that this sparkling wine, the one which launched it all, should be celebrated!

It was in 1971 that Simonsig pater familias Frans Malan bottled South Africa’s first ever local methode Champenoise sparkling wine and kickstarted a journey which would result in Methode Cap Classique (MCC) being recognised as the country’s answer to Champagne. It also lit the spark for some of the country’s top winemakers who continue to push boundaries, innovate and refine their bubbly offerings.

Cap Classique as a class has flourished, its momentum driven by an enthusiastic and engaged Cap Classique Association, established in 1992 and now boasting more than 80 members. The association also introduced the term Methode Cap Classique/MCC in the year the body was established, and set the bar high.

And there’s no more driven member than previous Diners Club Winemaker of the Year for this category, Pieter Ferreira of Graham Beck. (He won in 2004 with a Graham Beck Blanc de Blanc 1999...) As many in the wine fraternity know, Ferreira goes by the nickname of Bubbles – for good reason!

Graham Beck as a brand has to be admired for their conviction and faith in bubbly – and Bubbles! In 2015 CEO Chris du Toit announced that the still wines in the Graham Beck portfolio were being sold off in order to focus solely on sparkling wine. Furthermore, they invested millions in gearing their already impressive operation to drive quality and production even more.

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