Champagne is a costly extravagance although well worth it. But it’s also good to know that the past year has been an excellent one for the makers of Méthode Cap Classique (MCC).
You can fork out hundreds or even thousands of rand on Champagne, but get the same tasting notes, often even better, from MCC.
Expert Roland Peens, director of Wine Cellar, has his own favourites and says you can’t go wrong with the Drappier, Carte d’Or Brut NV and the L’Ormarins, Brut Classique NV this festive season.
“Drappier is a family-owned Champagne house that dates back to the 19th century. Its Champagnes hail from the clay-rich soils of the Aube, north-east where pinot noir produces fruity, exuberant wines with aromatic richness.
“Embracing authenticity and a natural approach, Michel Drappier, the family head, believes in minimal intervention, with very little addition of sugar and sulphur dioxide,” says Peens.
It retails for R525.
Peens says the L’Ormarins, Brut Classique NV has a “delicate peach hue and a constant stream of fine bubbles. It has appealing aromas of candied apple, citrus pith and a light, flinty limestone nuance.
“Distinctly fruity white peach and apple on the entry with a fresh vibrance and crisp acidity that balances the ripe fruit.
“Rounded, creamy, broad and textured in the mouth. Its long after-taste finishes on a light lemon-zest note.”
And you won’t be disappointed with Steenberg Wine Estate’s 1682 Pinot Noir.
It is described thus: “Beguiling with its pale pink hue and whiffs of wild strawberry sorbet, raspberry meringue and citrus blossom, this MCC strikes an elegant pose.
“The new 2016 vintage entices with savoury notes of freshly baked brioche and a fine, creamy mousse that delights the palate, lingering long after the last sip.”
And you should also try the Steenberg 1682 Brut Chardonnay MCC and the Sparkling Sauvignon Blanc. All three of the Steenberg wines are reasonably priced - you’re not going to pay more than R210 each.
If you want to excite your palate this New Year with something fresh and sparkly, then make sure you get your hands on Grande Provence’s two new MCCs - a shimmering brut and an enchanting brut rosé.
The brut is described by the Franschhoek estate as “a beautifully balanced blend of chardonnay and pinot noir with the yeasty character and complexity of freshly baked bread.
“Crisp acidity and delicate fruit lend ample freshness to the creamy mousse.”
And if that’s not enticing enough, the brut rosé MCC has a dash of pinotage added to its blend for a uniquely lively bubble.
The pinotage adds another layer to the bubbles that you will remember long after the clock strikes midnight on December 31.
JC Le Roux’s also has its latest drier Vibrazio range on the shelves.
The Vibrazio Sauvignon Blanc, Demi-Sec and Demi-Sec Rosé offer a lively display of fruit and elegance, exquisite balance and playful taste profile.
They describe their offering as: “Beautifully balanced and dry. The Vibrazio Sauvignon Blanc is refreshing and lively with litchi, pineapple and granadilla flavours.
“The Vibrazio Demi-Sec is off-dry with lively fruity notes of upfront pear and litchi with a slightly sweet finish.
“With its alluring salmon pink blush and inviting taste profile, the rosé is a vibrant display of sweet berries, plums and tropical fruit.”
This is a versatile range, and if you want to be playful they are the perfect bubbles for a wine popsicle.
If you still can’t be convinced to try an MCC, then Durbanville Hills has the answer with its Sparkling Sauvignon Blanc.
It’s jam-packed with tropical fruit flavours that are infused with a hint of citrus and is a refreshing take on bubbles.
There are some great MCC and Champagne options available this year, so there’s no excuse not to pop the cork when you usher in 2018.