Sunday, January 16, 2011

Harvesting a Forty-year Family Legacy – Simonsig’s Kaapse Vonkel

It’s summertime in the Cape winelands. The sun is shining. The afternoons are so heated the air seems to shimmer. The mountain tops above seem heavy, a distant deep purple and the leaves on the vines before me are glowing a luminescent green. Bunches of grapes hang from them like perfect, radiant spheres – and they are ripe for the picking.

This is the very start of harvest season, when these delicate globes take the next step of their journey from the vineyards to our glasses. A time of the year that conjures up romantic images like basket loads of grapes streaming out of the vineyards by day and by night, of grape stomping rituals and most importantly, of bountiful celebration. And this year, the Stellenbosch winery Simonsig has much to celebrate.

Home to Kaapse Vonkel, the acclaimed Méthod Cap Classique (MCC) bubbly, this harvest represents the 40th anniversary since visionary winemaker Frans Malan introduced it to the South African market. It was the first bubbly in South Africa to be made using the traditional Champagne method, a bold move at the time. Under the careful attention of Mr. Malan’s sons, it also became one of the few MCC’s to use the same classic grape combination used in Champagne – Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier. In other words, it’s about as close as you can get to “real” Champagne without throwing a few hundred rand at an imported bottle.

And why not buy local when such at outstanding MCC is at our fingertips? The recipe for Kaapse Vonkel has paid off in the form of a long list of accolades like numerous 4-star rankings from the Platter’s Wine Guide, top position in the Wine Magazine Cap Classique Challenges, international recognition, and several Veritas awards.

Crisp and bisquity with a citrusy nose and yeasty flavour, Kaapse Vonkel pairs well with seafood like oysters, smoked salmon and sushi. It also pairs well with friends, good times and summertime weather, when you feel inspired to lift your glass in tribute to the accomplishments of the past, the joy of the present, and the possibility of the future. Cheers to Simonsig – may this year’s harvest bring even more sparkle to the Cape.

1 comment:

  1. enjoyed reading your blog! i'm heading there to cape town on saturday for my 5th visit to the area!