In a repeat performance from 2014, Domaine des Dieux, the boutique wine producer in the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley near Hermanus, was crowned as South Africa’s best Cap Classique exponent at this year’s Amorim Cap Classique Challenge. The Domaine des Dieux Claudia Brut MCC 2012, a blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, won the category for Best Brut Blend as well as Best Producer having achieved the highest score of all the 127 wines entered into this year’s rendition of the Amorim Cap Classique Challenge.
The only competition committed exclusively to the Cap Classique category, the Amorim Cap Classique Challenge is sponsored by Portugal-based cork company Amorim. This was the 17th year South Africa’s producers of bottle-fermented sparkling wine took part in this popular competition.
Cap Classique pioneer Simonsig Estate from Stellenbosch which celebrates its 50thyear as an independent producer this year, dominated the competition’s Rosé Category with the Woolworths Pinot Noir Rosé 2016 (no added sulphur).
In the category for Best Blanc de Blancs, Franschhoek fizz whizz Colmant Brut Chardonnay (non-vintage) – no newcomer to this department – took top honours. And in the Museum Class for wines eight years and older, Cap Classique stalwart House of JC le Roux came out tops with its classic Pongracz Desiderius 2009 proving that the sparkles don’t fade as the years pile up.
Chairman of the judging panel Heidi Duminy, CWM, said there can be no doubt about Cap Classique being on the rise in all respects.
“The 127 record show of entries in this year’s competition is both exciting and encouraging and as a panel we were delighted by the overall standard across the classes,” she said. “Every year there is a tangible step up in quality and intent, especially amongst the frontrunners. The advancement of quality on the whole has raised the bar across all styles, with time on lees clearly key to distinguishing the good from the exceptional.”
Duminy said that Cap Classique has been poised to explode on the international scene in recent years, offering a fantastic proposition for the trending global demand for sparkling wine. “It is really important to position the relative quality according to international standards, and the Amorim Cap Classique challenge is a valuable platform to showcase this potential on both local and international markets,” she said. “The diverse expertise of this year’s judging panel, application of the international 100-point scoring system and stringent sprints of small flights tasted at optimal temperature in larger glasses ensured every wine due consideration. The top wines are stunning.”
WATCH: Sharon Parnell from Domaine des Dieux celebrates her win Sabrage style!
Joaquim Sá, MD of Amorim South Africa said the country’s wine industry can justifiably feel proud of its Cap Classique category.
“As a cork producer, Amorim believes that a natural cork adds value to a bottle of wine by endorsing the product with a closure that represents tradition and quality. This is what Cap Classique does for the South African wine industry: it adds value and at a time when there is great pressure on producers to do just that,” said Sá.
“To have a sector of diverse and expressive Cap Classique sparkling wines to add to the exciting offerings of the South African wine industry is indeed a privilege. Cap Classique is vibrant, it appeals to all wine lovers and the number of exciting producers making this product of exceptional quality is something the wine industry should be immensely proud of.
“The quality of product and the excitement of the category add value to the image of the South African wine industry, and here we have to thank the pioneers who created Cap Classique over 40 years ago as well as the passionate and headstrong pursuers of excellence who built the category to what it is today. Amorim is immensely proud to be associated with the product and its people who add value to the lovely everyday pleasure that is wine.”
Judging with Duminy were Cathy Marston, wine educator and journalist, sommelier-at-large Higgo Jacobs, Elunda Basson, JC le Roux cellarmaster and Pierre de Klerk from Graham Beck. Farai Magwada, sommelier at Cavalli Estate in Stellenbosch, joined the team as associate judge.
Besides the trophy winners above, the following wines received Gold medals:
Blanc de Blancs
KWV Laborie MCC Blanc de Blancs 2011
Graham Beck Blanc de Blancs 2013
Pierre Simond Wines Anna Carin MCC Blanc de Blancs 2015
Villiera Wines Villiera Monro Brut 2011
Lourensford MCC 2012