Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Amorim Cork Methode Cap Classique Challenge Awards

Every year Amorim Cork sponsors this competition in South Africa for the best Methode Cape Classique wines, wines that are made in the French Champagne method. The Awards ceremony was held last Thursday at the Twelve Apostles Hotel and there were some surprises and also some of the more familiar top names who received awards. Domaine des Dieux Claudia Brut MCC 2009, from the boutique wine producer in the Hemel en Aarde Valley near Hermanus, was crowned as South Africa’s best Cap Classique. The results are as follows:
  • Best Vintage Brut and Overall Winner: Domaines des Dieux Claudia Brut MCC 2009
  • Best Brut Non-Vintage: Lords Non-Vintage Blended Brut
  • Best Rosé Non-Vintage: Graham Beck Brut Rosé
  • Best Rosé Vintage: Graham Beck Brut Rosé 2009
  • Best Blanc de Blancs Non-Vintage: Colmant Brut Chardonnay
  • Best Blanc de Blancs Vintage: Laborie 2010
  • Best Museum Class: Simonsig Kaapse Vonkel Brut 2004
Bottles chilling on arrival
Welcomed with a glass of Lord's by a member of staff
The first surprise was the quality and sophistication of the welcoming bubbly, Lord’s MCC blend from Robertson area.  It is lean and crisp and in the style of a Brut Sauvage, a style we really love. It was awarded Best non-vintage Brut, which is so deserves. It is so nice to see a wine come of age
The elegant all-white conference marquee in which we gathered
Pieter Ferreira of Graham Beck Wines with journalist Melvin Minnaar
Two absolutely stunning canapés: At the top a fresh asparagus spear in a jar with a beautiful mushroom and truffle paste, topped with a herb oil. In front, a whole fresh oyster in a cold lime broth topped the spherical, chef made, ‘caviare’
Three winning winemakers:  A representative of KWV with Hannes Meyer of Simonsig and Kobus van der Merwe of Laborie
Wayve Kolevsohn, sommelier at The Test Kitchen, with Pieter Ferreira
Best Bubbly on show was won by Sharon Parnell of Domaine des Dieux in the Hemel and Aarde valley
And the rain it raineth just on that day. And boy did it come in from over the sea!
Joaquim Sa, the Cape Town representative of Amorim Cork, announcing the awards
The chef at The Twelve Apostles is making superb food. This starter of gently smoked, flame grilled local salmon trout was moist and perfectly seasoned. And just too damned small. It was dressed with ‘pressed’ cucumber, a tartare of crisp vegetables, an impressive miso vinaigrette and some more of those lime spheres.
The Twelve Apostles talented sommelier Gregory Mutambe pours us another good MCC to go with lunch. It was hidden in a napkin as its award had not yet been announced
The lunch menu
The Beetroot ‘terrine’ was a thick slice of fresh beetroot with an unusual sweet goats cheese ice cream, a tangy apple gel and pickled baby pearl onions
Liezel van der Westhuizen was our Mistress of Ceremonies. Here, Pieter Ferreira of Graham Beck gets two awards - for the best Brut Rosé NV and the Best Brut Rosé Vintage 2009 from Joaquim Sa
Pieter also collected the award for the Best Blanc de Blancs Non Vintage MCC on behalf of JP Colmant, who was overseas
Two happy winemakers from Graham Beck with their awards, Pierre de Klerk and Pieter Ferreira
A beaming Sharon Parnell of Domaine des Dieux with her award for the Best Vintage Brut, Claudia.
Hannes Meyer of Simonsig collects their award
The Trophy for the Overall Winner of the competition is an impressive sword which is being collected here by Sharon Parnell
Listening to the speeches
All the tables had a good mix of winemakers, winners, industry people and media
Alan Mullins tells us how the competition was judged
Greg Mutambe, Head Sommelier and Bradley Isaacs, Food & Beverage Supervisor
Shante Hutton, Wine News editor of, tweeting the winners to her readers
A surprise award to Alan Mullins for his services to the Methode Cape Classique industry
We are poured a glass of Claudia, the Best Vintage Brut and overall winner, from Domaine de Dieux
Sommelier Gregory checking that the wines are worthy of serving
The winning lineup of MCC wines
Sharon Parnell with her daughter Megan
Siobhan Thompson, the CEO of Wines of South Africa, with Sharon Parnell
It is unusual to be served roast chicken at functions nowadays. This supremely tender sous vide breast was served on a delicious corn puree, with small fried potato gnocchi, forest mushroom ragout, oven roasted shallots and a hazelnut crumble for texture and flavour. There was also a very crisp and succulent confit’d wing
And then came dessert entitled When life gives you lemons…  A soft lemon cremeaux ( the French for panna cotta) topped with a lemon puree, with honey cake, a rooibos honey gel, a sharp lemon sorbet and plain Bulgarian yogurt and some roasted nuts. Was it lemon overkill?  No it was not. Just the right amount of citrus tang made this a fresh dessert light with lots of different textures which went so well with bubbly. The cremeaux was like eating a lemon meringue pie in flavour but a completely different texture.
Emile Joubert, the PRO for these awards
Francois Malan, Simonsig viticulturalist
Liezel van der Westhuizen winds up the Awards
The sun has come out to allow the winners to pose with their trophies
The informal picture!
Joaquim Sa, Peter Clarke and Sharon Parnell of Domaine de Dieux and Christophe Fouquet of Amorim Cork
And just in case you were still hungry there were some petit fours with coffee

© John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus 2014

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