Simonsig Estate, the pioneering Stellenbosch winery responsible for making the first Méthode Cap Classique wine, became the most-awarded cellar in the history of the Amorim Cap Classique Challenge by winning the competition’s Best Producer Award for the fourth time.
Words by Greg Landman
This year’s award went to Simonsig’s Cuvée Royale Blanc de Blancs 2012, a 100% Chardonnay wine with lees contact of 60 months. Simonsig also won the category for Rosé Cap Classique with its Pinot Noir Rosé 2015, a wine exclusively made for the Woolworths retail chain.
2017 saw this prestigious competition taking place for the 16th consecutive year. The annual Cap Classique Challenge is hosted by the MCC Association in association with Portugal-based cork company Amorim, the world’s leading supplier of cork wine stoppers and other cork products, whose closures are found on the world’s most prestigious wine brands. Some 97 entries were received this year.
The category for Brut Cap Classique, which received the most entries, was won by Overberg producer Domaine Des Dieux for Domaine Des Dieux Claudia Brut MCC 2011. In the Museum Class for wines eight years or older, Graham Beck took the top honours for its Brut Zero 2005.
The annual Frans Malan Trophy, awarded to an individual for his or her exceptional contribution to the category of Cap Classique wines, went to Pieter Ferreira of Graham Beck.
Speaking at the awards function, Joaquim Sá, MD of Amorim South Africa, said that the country today has 220 Cap Classique producers responsible for 300 labels.
“These producers are responsible for a product that in 2016 sold 4,4m bottles in South Africa, a staggering growth of 24.5% compared to 2015 or nearly one million bottles,” he said. Compare that to 16 years ago – the first time this competition was held – when local sales of Cap Classique just edged the 700 000 bottles per year mark. When it comes to exports, the growth also continues with the UK, US and African countries leading the appetite for South African bubbly.
“And the growth doesn’t stop here as 2017 promises to excel again. As a note, our local Cap Classique cork sales January to August are 27% up compared to 2016, so another rosy year is expected,” said Sá.