Time to embrace pink

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Copy of cw GP Vineyards . Sip The Old Man's Sparkle, from high in the Darling hills.

Cape Town - We’re in the pink and revelling in every bubble. The new generation of rosé cap classiques are mostly well-made, dry but fruity wines, with fine languid or lively bubbles.

Often rated four stars and occasionally more, they make the ideal fizz for celebrations, alfresco brunches, for sunset aperitifs and high tea finales.

There are still consumers – and not only those old enough to remember the sickly pink fizz that used to dominate this category – who decline to try rosé MCCs because they think they must be inferior. No longer! So, unless you only drink fizz if its pale, bone-dry and austere, accept a flute of salmon or onion-skin brut bubbly when offered and you could become an instant convert.

For those who prefer their pink bubblies on the sweet side, there is a wide choice of affordable labels to try, and thanks to increased competition, offering better quality.

A new cellar and a pair of cap classiques were launched recently in Elgin, a region far from saturated in sparkling wines. Charles and Zelda Fox bought a fruit farm there seven years ago, replacing just over six hectares of orchard with 10 blocks of chardonnay, pinot noir and pinot meunier.

A Gallic Champagne specialist was consulted, as was well-known Elgin vineyard fundi Paul Wallace, a cellar was built in 2010 and in October their maiden bubblies, both 2010 vintage, were released.

The Charles Fox Cap Classique Brut Rosé (R220) is made from pinot noir with 5 percent pinot meunier. The yeastiness is complemented by wafts of berried fruit, while its companion, a classic brut (R200) made from chardonnay and pinot noir, with 20 percent pinot meunier, offers citrus and apple. The cellar is open for weekend tastings and sales. See www.charlesfox.co.za

Laborie’s bubblies are deservedly popular, as are the Lazy Day markets, generous tastings and the fare at the Harvest restaurant. This atmospheric and historic dorp-plaas perched on the slopes of Paarl mountain at the town’s entrance produces an enjoyable pale Brut Rosé 2009 (R92) that is made from classic cultivars and offers a hint of Turkish delight along with fruit and biscuit tones. It’s one of a tempting trio, the others being the very dry and classy 2008 brut with persistent bubbles and the 2008 Blanc de Blancs, another well-balanced bubbly produced from chardonnay.

To Robertson, where the Bruere family has long been established as a producer of superior and well-priced sparkling wines, many of which have attracted strings of awards. But it has taken until 2012 for Bon Courage to release a rosé that is sure to join its colleagues in the medal line-up. The Jacques Bruere Cuvée Brut Rosé 2006 is a classic blend of 80 percent pinot noir and 20 percent chardonnay, four years on lees culminating in a rich mouthful with a creamy mousse, toast, berries and a long finish. It’s a fine addition to their brut blanc de blancs and five-star brut reserve. All sell for about R120 or R130.

Franschhoek is represented by a recent release of the Rickety Bridge 2010 Brut Rosé, (R125) with low-alcohol levels, a chardonnay-pinot noir blend that spent 18 months on lees. Each of the 3 500 bottles produced has its number on the label.

If the West Coast is on your itinerary, it’s likely you will pause at Groote Post, where the fifth edition of Old Man’s Sparkle Brut Rosé is out and selling for just under R100. - Weekend Argus

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