The 1st of September is a day to celebrate in South Africa with the first day of spring and the annual Cap Classique Day. Celebrating this change in season and the magic of a glass of bubbly is a perfect match.
Cap Classique distinguishes SA sparkling wines made in the traditional method, Méthode Champenoise, from all other bubblies made around the world, respecting the protected status of the name Champagne. SA’s first bubbly made through this time-honoured method was from Chenin Blanc in 1971, setting the foundation stone of Cap Classique.
There are many myths about this method of winemaking from the innovator Benedictine monk Dom Perignon to the location, it is now known that it was first used near Carcassonne (Southwestern France) in 1531 to make Blanquette de Limoux. It was later documented by an English scientist and then finessed by Dom Perignon at a time coinciding with the English glass-making development that saw bottles that could withstand enormous pressure. This glass made it possible to capture the magic of these iconic wines from base wine undergoing second fermentation in sealed bottles forcing the carbon dioxide to dissolve into the wine, giving us the fine fizz we all love.
Unlike Champagne, Cap Classique has no regulations on which cultivars may be used in producing these bubblies, however, there are strict controls on the length of allowing the wine to rest on the lees, ensuring quality integration. the 2021 vintage marks an evolution of the SA bubbly from Method Cap Classique requiring a minimum of 9 months on the lees to Cap Classique requiring no less than 12 months.
Ken Forrester continues the tradition of Cap Classique with Sparklehorse, 100% Chenin Blanc, grown in cool climate vineyards overlooked by the majestic Helderberg. The fruit gently ripens while retaining the vital acidity to carry the finished bubbly. After second fermentation the wine is left sur lattes for 28 months, allowing the creaminess and fine mousse to develop while still maintaining bright, fresh apple, pear and quince aromas. Sparklehorse makes for the perfect bubbly to celebrate this Cap Classique Day and the arrival of spring.