There is no better way to welcome the arrival of warmer weather than with a glass of MCC in hand. Cheers to the end of the winter blues!
Three MCCs To Ring In Spring
Méthode Cap Classique – better known as MCC – is South Africa’s version of Champagne. (It can't be called Champagne as only wines made from grapes produced in the Champagne region of France may be called Champagne.)
MCCs are made using the traditional French method, though, in which wine undergoes a second process of fermentation creating the fizz and bubbles we have come to know and love. To celebrate the sunshine and blooming flowers, we have found three newly released MCC’s to try this Spring.
Three MCCs to drink a toast to spring
1. Lourensford Cuveé 108
Lourensford Wine Estate has released a Limited Cuveé 108 which has been produced by grapes harvested over a decade ago. The grapes then spent 108 months maturing on the lees (yeast cells left over from the fermentation process). As a Brut Zero Méthode Cap Classique, the 11-year-old wine has no added sugar and was made using mostly Chardonnay grapes.
Lourensford Estate cellar master Hannes Nel explains why the wine was left on the lees: because, over time, these yeast cells break down or autolyse, releasing compounds that enrich the wine. ‘Extended exposure to the lees is what gives aged MCC its structure and biscuity allure,’ he says.
Tasting notes: A crisp and elegant MCC on the palate – you may taste a range of flavours including honey, lemon cream, Granny Smith apples and freshly baked bread. As a complex MCC, the fine mousse on the palate carries hints of cashew nuts, pineapple and subtle hints of citrus.
Pair it with: The Lourensford Cuveé pairs well with a mixed seafood platter or Panzanella salad.
Insider info: Only 419 bottles of the MCC have been released since the first degorging.
Cost: R660 per bottle. It is available from the Lourensford tasting room, open Monday–Sunday, 9am–5pm.
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2. Genevieve MCC 2015 Zero Dosage
In Bot River, a small town of the Overberg region, is the estate where Genevieve Méthode Cap Classique is made. Named for founder Melissa Nelsen’s second name, and in turn after the patron saint of Paris, the MCCs created by Nelsen are filled with family history and a bubbly zest for life.
The Genevieve MCC 2015 Zero Dosage contains 1.2 of natural occurage sugar levels, lower than those of the existing range of MCCs on offer from Genevieve. Only exceptional quality from the vineyards is used to make the Genevieve MCC Zero Dosage. Nelsen explains the process: ’Only first-pressed cuvée juice is used and kept for a minimum of four years on the lees, with periodical assessments,' she says. 'The aim is to show the purest expression of terroir and the cap classique quality without any added dosage [traditionally, the topping up of wine and addition of sucrose].’
Tasting notes: White fruit and subtle aromas of minerality.
Paired with: Pop this bubbly with a chilled peach soup or butternut squash ravioli with brown butter and sage – or with either lime or hazelnut macaroons.
Inside info: Named for the patron saint of Paris, the Genevieve range has a sense of lineage with the origins of Champagne in France.
3. Krone Kaaimansgat Blanc de Blancs 2016
Crafted on Twee Jonge Gezellen wine estate in Tulbagh, Krone has created a renowned selection of MCCs and now, its first terroir-specific MCC, the Krone Kaaimansgat Blanc de Blancs 2016.
All the grapes for this wine were sourced from the 31-year-old, high altitude Kaaimansgat (also known as the Crocodile’s Lair) Chardonnay vineyard, which is located 700m above sea level in the Elandskloof ward in the Overberg.
Krone’s cellar master, Rudiger Gretschel, comments on the creation of the MCC, referring to the process as unlike no other: ‘Producing a vintage wine from a single vineyard is the purest expression of transparency and authenticity. It is an exercise in courage and passion, leaving no place to hide as the quality of the grapes and the skill of the winemaker are in full view.'
Tasting notes: The Krone Kaaimansgat Blanc de Blancs features flavours of citrus and Pink Lady apples, with hints of oatmeal in the background.
Paired with: As it is a considered a ‘pure’ MCC, pairings include authentic dishes with the highest simplicity – from baked oysters dressed with burnt butter to whole trout grilled on a cedar plank.
Insider info: Terroir refers to the entirety of the natural environment which the wine is produced, including the soil, climate, topography and more.
Cost: R500 per bottle; available at fine wine retailers, selected restaurants and at the Twee Jonge Gezellen estate.
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