D4 Sparkling: South Africa Flashcards Preview

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Flashcards in D4 Sparkling: South Africa Deck (20)
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What are the two categories of sparkling wine made in South Africa?

Briefly describe the style of each, and in which market each is mostly consumed.

  1. Inexpensive, carbonated sparkling wine
    • ​​usually sweet, acceptable to good quality;
    • domestic market, mostly sub-Saharan territories.
  2. Cap Classique
    • Traditional Method sparkling wine made with Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Chenin Blanc, Pinotage;
    • good to very good quality, mid- to premium pricing;
    • export market mostly.



Carbonated South African sparkling wine:

  • What are the grapes typically used?
  • What is its general tasting profile?
  • Is production up or down since 2011?

  • Sauvignon Blanc, Muscat, Pinotage, and other grapes;
  • Simple, fruity, off-dry to sweet;
  • Production down since 2011.


Cap Classique (CC):

  • What is it?
  • In was year was it founded?
  • Give an example of a top producer.

Cap Classique is an association of growers and producers who make Méthode Cap Classique, which is sparkling wine whose secondary fermentation occurs inside the same bottle in which it will later be sold (Traditional Method).

  • Founded in 1992
  • J.C. Le Roux


Laws for Méthode Cap Classique (MCC):

  • What is the permissible method used to make it?
  • What are its minimum bars of pressure post-disgorgement?
  • What is its minimum aging time sur lie?

  • Traditional Method;
  • Minimum 3 bars post-disgorgement;
  • 12 months minimum sur lie.


In South Africa, what percent of bottle-fermented sparkling wine is made by members of Cap Classique? 

More than 90%


Grapes for South African sparkling wine are principally grown in which regions?

  • Robertson (limestone soils);
  • Bonnievale (limestone soils);
  • Stellenbosch;
  • Paarl;
  • Darling;
  • Tulbagh.


What is it about Robertson and Bonnievale that make them good places to grow grapes destined for sparkling wine?

  • They're narrow valleys that are slow to warm in morning due to mountain shade (large diurnal shift);
  • Cool breezes come up through Breede River from Cape Agulhas;
  • Limestone soils.



What are some other soil types grapes are grown on in South Africa (besides limestone in Robertson and Bonnievale)?

  • Shale;
  • Clay;
  • Decomposed granite.


Do most producers in South Africa blend wines from different areas or do they make single vineyard sparkling wines?

Blend wines from different areas.


When do South African producers aim to pick their grapes for Méthode Cap Classique?

~90 days after flowering


South African producers leave lots of canopy on the vine for extra shade.

What happens to grapes when they ripen in full shade?


If grapes ripen in full shade, their acidity is higher


How is South African carbonated sparkling wine made?

Fermentation is usually stopped (so the finish is sweet), then carbonated, then bottled and released.

It's an inexpensive method which results in inexpensive wine.


Most Cap Classiques:

  • Are harvested by hand or machine?
  • Whole-bunch pressed or fully destemmed?

Most Cap Classiques are:

  • Hand harvested;
  • Whole-bunch pressed.


Acidification in Cap Classique is:

  • Common
  • Uncommon



What step in the winery will better winegrowers do when making their Cap Classique?

Separate press fractions before blending


What are the general rules on malolactic conversion or oak use on Cap Classique?

There are no general rules - it's producer dependent and even vintage dependent.

Some growers use oak, some don't; some put their wines through malo, some don't.


Do premium Cap Classique houses typically:

  • Blend reserve wines to make multi-vintage wines, or
  • Make vintage sparkling wines?

Use reserve wines to make multi-vintage sparkling wines


What are the 3 ways rosé Cap Classique can be made?

  1. Blending white + red wines prior to secondary fermentation;
    • this controls tannin + color;
  2. Add red still wine to white blend prior to secondary fermentation;
  3. Maceration of red varietal prior to primary fermentation.


The Cap Classique Producers' Association is spearheading two projects.

What are these projects, and why are they initiating them?

They're proposing these project to try to switch Champagne drinkers and former beer drinkers to Cap Classique.

Project 1

  • Change the law to require all grapes destined for Cap Classique to be 'certified' for approval for a Wine of Origin;
  • Change the law to require minimum 12 mos sur lie for ALL producers from the 2020 vintage;
  • All producers of Cap Classique to become members of the Cap Classique Producers’ Association.

Project 2

  • To establish two categories of Cap Classique:
    1. Standard category (based on exisiting rules);
    2. Higher quality category
      • wines must be made from Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Chenin Blanc or Pinotage;
      • must be whole-bunch pressed;
        • minimum 36 months sur lie.


How is the Cap Classique Producers' Association funded?

Taxes, or levies, imposed on members in relation to their production volume.

The CCPA uses these funds to promote their wines through public tastings, a technical conference every two years, and an annual tasting of producers' base wines.