Local and international consumers just can’t get enough of South Africa’s fastest growing wine category. Méthode Cap Classique is the South African version of champagne with the bubbly made using the bottle fermented process used by the French. When the appellation MCC was started in this country, back in 1992, there were 14 sparkling wine producers in South Africa. Today there are 220 producers with some 300 MCC labels on the market. One of the best-known makers is Pieter Ferreira, cellarmaster at Graham Beck, who is so well-known for making delicious bubblies that he’s affectionately known as Bubbles Ferreira.
Why is bubbly your passion?
They say that I have bubbles in my blood! I have been very fortunate to specialise in bubbly from day one in my winemaking career. The intrinsic values that goes into the process of bubbly are quite mesmerising and bubbles do intrigue and absorb you! I guess when you drink, eat and sleep it, it is your passion.
Why do you believe there has been this huge surge in the popularity of South African sparkling wines and MCCs?
The beauty of MCC is that it is uniquely South African. It will forever remain the better alternative for those who don’t want to do Champagne. There is a great amount of respect for Champagne but with our great weather and sunshine we will always provide great value. The price-point/quality-ratio is a huge advantage for the consumer. I still believe it is the most ‘underrated’ wine category in the wine world. Bubbly or MCC has become a lifestyle drink and is not only there for celebrations anymore.
Have MCC styles changed dramatically over the past 15 years?
I don’t think MCC styles have changed over the years, they have just gotten better and they are today much more refined stylistically. Definite styles have emerged over the years such as the Non-Vintage and Vintages blends, Blanc de Blancs, Rosés and even Prestige Cuvees. Out of theses styles various sweetness levels have also emerged. There are the ‘sofizzticated’ bone-dry styles such as your Brut Zero/Brut Nature styles and, for the punters, Brut styles and, for the emerging new-age MCC drinker, Dry to Demi-Sec styles. A serious selection fit for every moment of the day!
Do SA consumers buy French champagne just for the image and how do we change that?
Yes, they do! It is the perception and the opportune moment to show they have ‘cash to burn’. I know image is a great thing and important - there is nothing wrong with it - but I do believe charity should start at home and ‘local is lekker’. Local deserves far more of a punt with reference to Champagne – but then maybe MCC’s are too cheap! Rand for rand I believe our MCC’s deliver and punch way beyond what they cost!
Give us your favourite bubbly and food pairings?
I believe that MCCis the most versatile wine for food pairing. There is no right or wrong anymore. Bubbles have the ability to play the ‘enhancer’.
Brut Blend – oysters on the rocks (anytime)
Blanc de Blancs – fresh pan-seared fish with a beurre blanc sauce
Rosé – breast of duck (still moist and pink inside) with roasted vegetables
Matured MCC – cheese board (mainly hard cheeses)
May 18- May 20, 2018
Venue: The Park House of Events on 7 at Hyde Park Corner
Cost: R380 per person which includes a glass and 10 tasting tickets.