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Celebrating Méthode Cap Classique

03 September 2016
by Manon Colmant

10 QUICK FACTS

  • The first ever bubble to be born inside a wine in South Africa was in the Simonsig winery in 1971.
  • The appellation “Methode Cap Classique” was started in 1992. There were 14 sparkling wine producers in South Africa at the time.
  • MCC refers to a sparkling wine which was made in South Africa using a bottle fermentation process, known as “Methode traditionnelle” or “Methode Champenoise”.
  • Any grape varietal can be used for the production of Cap Classique, though Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay are recommended.
  • There are usually about 6 bars of pressure found inside a sealed MCC bottle, with 3 bars being a minimum for the wine to classify in the category of MCC.
  • The Colmant winery was the first ever in South Africa to be entirely dedicated to the production of Cap Classique, with the intention of focusing all efforts and expertise to making optimal quality sparkling wines.
  • Today, there are just short of 100 Cap Classique Association members, who together make up for almost all of the total annual MCC production.
  • As of 2016, MCC production is at around 7,5 million bottles annually. For comparison interest, Champagne has a yearly production of around 315 million bottles.
  • Cap Classique is the fastest growing wine category the country, having  records of doubling its production every 5 years.
  • Just under a third of MCC bottles are popped outside of South Africa each year, with USA, UK & Sweden being the top 3 export destinations.

 

IN MORE DETAIL

What it means

Methode Cap Classique, also known as MCC or Cap Classique, is the term used for a sparkling wine which is made in South Africa and according to the Methode Champenoise (aka Methode Traditionnelle).

Methode Champenoise : bottle fermented sparkling wine

This is the age old French method of making sparkling wine by inducing a second fermentation process to a still wine inside the bottle, the process which will add the sparkle (CO2) into the wine.

Methode Champenoise is widely used around the globe by sparkling-wine producing wineries, but a sparkling wine can only be named “Champagne” if it was made using grapes from the Champagne region itself.

Although all Cap Classiques are sparkling wines, not all sparkling wines are Cap Classiques (they are not all made according to this method).

To discover more about the ways of Methode Cap Classique & Methode Champenoise, please visit this page.

How it began 

In 1971, the first ever sparkling wine bubble was born in South Africa in the Simonsig cellar. Several wineries followed suit thereafter and too started to experiment with the age old tradition.

The Methode Cap Classique association was launched in May 1992 at Royal Swazi Spa in Swaziland in response to the bans implemented for the use of the Champagne Appellation, leaving the sparkling wine producers of South Africa searching for a new recognition for the sparkle they created. There were 14 founding members of the association, with Michael Fridjhon and  Comte Antoine de Jesse Charleval from Taittinger as the honoured guests. These producers decided to join hands in their pursuit to evolve the standards, recognition and appreciation for South african Sparkling wine. Amongst the founding members were cellar masters Johan Malan from Simonsig, Jeff Grier from Villiera and Pieter Ferreira from Graham Beck.

MCC Tasting

An exciting journey

Since the inception of the Cap Classique Appellation, the quantity, as well as the quality, of the sparkling wines produced in South Africa have evolved impressively much. Each year, several wineries have joined the others in adding sparkle on the South African wine market. There have also been an increasing number of wineries which, inspired by the French, were built with the intention of having complete focus on the production of Cap Classique- the first of these to be the Colmant MCC winery. Graham Beck, South Africa’s largest bubbly producer, has too recently announced that it will be ceasing all still wine production to focus entirely on their Cap Classique range.

Today, there are just short of 100 members in the Cap Classique association, who together make up almost all of MCCs produced in the country, and well above 7 million bottles each year. Pieter Ferreira, one of the founding members of the association and the cellar master of Graham Beck wines, is the Chairman of the association. Cap Classique is the fastest growing wine category the country, having records of doubling its production every 5 years. With a continuation of positive growth on a quality and quantity perspective, exciting prospects await the Cap Classique lovers in South Africa and around the world.

South African bubbles around the world

Just under a third of total Cap Classique production is enjoyed by bubbly lovers around the world outside of South Africa. With the standards of MCC rising each year, so is the global appreciation and demand for South African sparkle, with a 10% increase in export volumes trend noticed over the years. Here are the top 12 export destinations for MCC as of 2016:

  1. USA
  2. UK
  3. Sweden
  4. Reunion Island
  5. Holland
  6. Japan
  7. Mauritius
  8. Belgium
  9. Germany
  10. United Arab Emirates
  11. Finland
  12. Denmark

A big Santé” to all those who continue to celebrate the sparkle that our vines produce, proudly South African style !!

Colmant Sec Reserve NV
Colmant Brut Plaisir NV
Colmant Brut Reserve NV
Colmant Brut Rosé NV
Colmant Brut Chardonnay NV
Tribaut Brut Origine
Tribaut Blanc de Chardonnay NV
Tribaut Instant Gourmand NV
Tribaut Rosé NV
Tribaut Millesime 2009
Follet-Ramillon Vintage Brut 2008
Tribaut Cuvee Rene NV
Mailly Brut Reserve NV
Mailly Extra Brut NV
Mailly L'Intemporelle 2010
Mailly Les Echansons 2004
Follet-Ramillon Special Brut NV
Champagne Tribaut Brut Origine Half Bottle NV
Champagne Tribaut Brut Origine Magnum NV
Champagne Follet Brut Tradition Magnum NV
Champagne Tribaut Brut Origine Jeroboam NV
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