Durbanville Hills has introduced its first Cap Classique,and cellar master Martin Moore is a proud man. “Come and taste,” he says. “It’s lovely!” Almost four years ago Martin started his plans for a Cap Classique, one that would round off the present three-tier wine range, to complement the restaurant offering and the magnificent view of Table Mountain and Table Bay.
“As a team we played around with a great many ideas. Sparkling wine has become a crowded and highly contested segment of our local wine market and we knew we would be up against tough competition.
“We decided to make what the French call a ‘blanc de blancs’ meaning ‘white of whites’ exclusively from white-wine grapes, usually Chardonnay. There were several reasons for this decision: There are not many blanc de blancs on the local market but, more importantly, Chardonnay as a cultivar performs exceptionally well in our cool-climate Durbanville area – three of our Chardonnays recently won gold at Michelangelo.”
In 2012 the team identified a vineyard block known for producing grapes with high acidity and low pH. The grapes were harvested early when the sugar was low and were crushed whole to minimise phenolic extraction. “Most of the juice was fermented in tank but a portion was pumped into older vats. Malolactic fermentation was induced as a precaution to avoid a possible third fermentation in the bottle later!
“The almost neutral base wine you begin with, will give no indication of what it will become. But as it remains on the lees in the bottle, the personality develops and increases in complexity until, after three years, as in our case, you end up with a wine that is a sheer delight to drink!”
“I find this wine has an abundance of citrus notes on the palate which is well supported by a natural crisp acidity – serving it with fresh oysters will really bring out the best in both!”
The 2012 Durbanville Hills Blanc de Blancs is available from the cellar door or online from the Vinoteque which sells for R135. About 3 000 litres were made and the wine will become a permanent edition to the Durbanville Hills range.