Sten parties see couples embarking on adventurous group outings with their friends to celebrate their last night as singletons together.

Durban - The festive season is upon us, amid cries of “where has the year gone?” It’s a time to celebrate past achievements and reflect on the year ahead.

Napoleon Bonaparte famously said “In victory, you deserve champagne; in defeat, you need it”, so, depending on whether your year has been one of victory or defeat, the appropriate toast would be champagne – or in South Africa’s case, Méthode Cap Classique (MCC), the local name for sparkling wines made in the French tradition.

Pongrácz Rosé (R115) was ranked in the world’s top 10 at Effervescents du Monde, the international competition for the best sparklings, including champagne. It was the second accolade in a month for this blushing bride, crowned Best Pink Cap Classique in the Fairlady Consumer Awards.

The newly released Charles Fox MCC Brut Rosé (R220) is a beautiful pale, rose-coloured, French-styled sparkling with almost microscopic bubbles that hum on the palate. At that price, it is not an everyday wine, but one to consider for special occasions.

Anyone heading to Plettenberg Bay this festive season may consider a trip to one of the country’s more unusual wine regions.

Packwood Country Estate is a pioneering member of Plettenberg Bay wine of origin, and earlier this year unveiled its maiden vintage Limited Release Pinot Noir Brut Rosé 2010 (R200).

Handcrafted by acclaimed winemaker Teddy Hall, it is wholly produced from pinot noir grown on the property using sustainable farming methods. Only 1 000 bottles were made available to the public.

The Viljoensdrift Villion MCC (R75) pays tribute to the winery’s French Huguenot forefather François Villion and celebrates the family’s proud heritage of five generations. The wine clinched a Veritas gold medal this year; was awarded four stars in Platter’s 2011 and a silver medal at the Amorim Cap Classique Challenge.

Plaisir de Merle has celebrated its 20th vintage by introducing an MCC. The debut release of the Plaisir de Merle Grand Brut MCC 2010 (R145) is made in the classic French tradition from pinot noir and chardonnay for an elegant, complex wine with a mature finish.

Last, but not least, kudos goes to The House of JC Le Roux for Le Domaine Non-Alcoholic (R40.95), with all the finesse, crisp freshness and gentle sweetness but none of the alcohol. - The Mercury

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