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Explore Méthode Cap Classique, The Bubbly Wine From South Africa

2 June 2021  -  Forbes, Jill Barth

Sparkling wine is made around the world in a variety of methods, but one can’t just call it bubbly and call it a day. Nomenclature plays a role in the culture of wine with bubbles. While there are unique steps at work in the cellar, in some cases the craftsmanship may be similar but the identification is different because of where it’s made.

There’s the Charmat Method (also called Martinotti or Italian Method) which produces Prosecco — here the secondary fermentation takes place in stainless steel tanks. There’s méthode ancestrale, which is how pét-nat is made, when the wine is bottled before its first fermentation has finished.

Then there’s méthode traditionelle, which is called méthode Champenoise when it’s specifically from Champagne. The process involves bottling still wine with yeast and sugar, which causes bubbles. This method is employed around the world, often with a regional name. For example, it’s called crémant when made in France (but not in Champagne) and Sekt when produced in Austria and Germany. This is also how Cava is crafted in Spain and Franciacorta is crafted in Italy.

When made in South Africa, the traditional method is called Méthode Cap Classique or MCC. The first Cap Classique was released in 1973 by Simonsig with the name Kaapse Vonkel (Cape Sparkle). It was made from Chenin Blanc from the 1971 harvest and crafted with equipment built by Stellenbosch winemaker Frans Malan, inspired by what he had learned while in France in the late 1960s.

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