Thursday, September 21, 2017

The 2017 Amorim Cap Classique Challenge awards ceremony at The Twelve Apostles

This is the 16th year this prestigious Cap Classique Challenge has been held. Run by the Mèthode Cap Classique Association and sponsored by Amorim Cork it lauds the best MCCs in the land.
You know it is Spring when this competition presents its awards. Held again at The Twelve Apostles Hotel on a beautiful day, we were able to stand on the terrace
The hotel has a very large Functions marquee
Simonsig team Francois Malan, Francois Jacques Malan and Hannes Meyer with Paul Gerber of Le Lude
Canapés before the event. These were beef Carpaccio and creamed goats cheese with beetroot
And sweet cones of cream cheese topped with cranberries
The event room filling up
Emile Joubert, MC for the day
The menu

PRO Emile Joubert gets the awards underway. 97 entries were received this year. There are four annual awards: the Blanc de Blancs category; Rose; Brute Cap Classique and the Museum Class.
Joaquim Sá, MD of Amorim South Africa, told us that this competition is the second longest running for a single category; Pinotage is the longest. The country today has 220 Cap Classique producers responsible for 300 labels; some are the strongest in the country. In the last year 4.4 million bottles of MCC have been sold locally which is an impressive 24.5% growth. 16 years ago, when the competition began, sales were 700,000 a year. And exports are continuing in the main overseas markets, with the UK, US and African countries leading the appetite for South African bubbly. But we must be aware that cheap Italian Prosecco and Spanish Cava are making inroads, with sales in 2016 at R320 million rand and we are importing the same amount as our exports. Therefore we must continue improving the presence of strong brands. The consumers say that MCC is the jewel in SA's crown. Amorim Cork’s sales are up 27% for MCC corks this year from January to September. There are exciting developments over the last year and a wide range of new approaches. Amorim Cork has a commitment to elegance, class, quality, style and innovation. Worldwide demand is growing for this perfectly natural product.
Christine Rudman
Peter Clarke of Domaine de Dieux
Serving staff in conversation, service is just about to begin
Time for the first course of a delicate tender sous vide chicken breast, confit thigh, a sliver of crisped chicken skin, a cooked egg yolk sauce, a truffle salad, a rich chicken liver paté and a little chicken consommé. Complex but good
This was served with the Simonsig Brut Rosé, always one of our favourite MCC Rosés
Heidi Duminy CWM, judging panel convener, said the overall standard was agreed by all judges to be excellent, with vintage distinction playing a key role. She said she was in bubble heaven. “The panel was particularly impressed by 2011 wines that are presenting gorgeous refinement with 2015 also standing out for its character. Across the styles, time on lees was the common thread that set the ordinary apart from the outstanding. The top scoring wines displayed purity of fruit and deft use of varieties, outstanding balance, complexity, freshness and harmony. The Brut Category accounted for 45 of the wines entered and was the best performing class overall, although," said Duminy, "there were some really exquisite outliers in the Blanc de Blancs line-up. The judges found that time, especially spent on the lees and experience make all the difference, it elevates the top achievers very quickly"
“There is tangible evidence of a better understanding of the intricacies of fruit quality, more strategic intent in blending of cuvées, the role of varieties, careful use of oak and restraint of dosage. They saw experimentation and differentiation and are concerned at the use of sulphur and masking the fruit with too much dosage. Richness from lees and not oak makes all the difference
Duminy’s fellow judges were Higgo Jacobs, sommelier and consultant, educator and journalist Cathy Marston and winemakers Elunda Basson and Johan Malan from JC le Roux/Pongrácz and Simonsig respectively. A panel with wide experience and technical knowledge. Judging was done to the 100 point system for the first time, which they liked very much as it gave them more room for manoeuvre. The scores of producer-judges were not taken into account for their own wines

Time to present the awards
This year’s Blanc de Blancs award went to Simonsig’s Cuvée Royale Blanc de Blancs 2012, a 100% Chardonnay wine with lees contact of 60 months. It was collected by Francois Malan and Hannes Meyer
In the category for Brut Cap Classique, the category with most entries, Domaine de Dieux won the award for their Domaine des Dieux Claudia Brut MCC 2011. The award was collected by one of the owners, Sharon Parnell
In the Museum Class for wines eight years or older, Graham Beck took the top honours for its Brut Zero 2005. Pieter 'Bubbles' Ferreira collected the award
Simonsig also got the award for their excellent Pinot Noir Rosé 2015, a wine exclusively made for the Woolworths retail chain. We liked that Allan Mullins was also asked to the podium to collect the award with Hannes Meyer of Simonsig
Pieter Ferreira was also the recipient of this years Frans Malan Legacy Trophy, awarded to someone who has contributed greatly to Mèthode Cap Classique wines
And Pieter surely has
This prestigious award was presented to Peter by Francois Malan
Francois Jacques Malan.  Nice green eyes
Time for the next course, some raw marinated tuna with a dashi custard, a soy jelly, some pork crackling and an avocado cream, with slices of radish. It was controversial. Lynne loved it, others did not. Perhaps you have to be a sashimi fan, which she is.
With this course we had the Simonsig Cuvee Royale
And then it was time for the Best Producer overall award which went, predictably after all their other awards on the day, to Simonsig. Here Joaquim Sá, MD of Amorim South Africa presents Hannes Meyer with the traditional trophy of a sword for Sabrage
With dessert we had the Graham Beck Brut Zero 2005
Jacques Jordaan, Simonsig's very happy Marketing Manager
Danie Keulder, Nitida winemaker
Graham beck winemaker Pierre de Klerk
Rebecca Constable of Woolworths wines with journalist Greg Landman
Ettiene Gouws of Amorim Cork
The winners with their trophies
Simonsig's trophies
Hannes Meyer trying out that sword for sabraging a bottle of Simonsig MCC
Peter and Anne Ferreira so pleased with their awards
Dessert had an apple theme and lots of different textures and very sweet tastes on the plate. The apple was lovely and tart, the jelly was good, the donuts were sadly hard and unyielding
And just when we thought it was all over, some friandise to go with coffee, coconut fudge, baby meringue kisses and some macarons. With a last glass of MCC
MCC lovers this is especially for you! The Cap Classique Association in conjunction with Amorim will be hosting an exclusive tasting of the award winning MCC wines at the Taj Hotel on the 28 September at 18:30

Stand a chance to WIN 2 double tickets to the event by liking the picture on their Facebook page and commenting with your favourite South African MCC.

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