No introductions are required for Mr and Mrs Bubbles themselves. Ann, the owner, and Pieter, the winemaker, at Pieter Ferreira are nothing short of South African legends.
Pieter has always been a fearless boundary breaker when it comes to producing some of the world’s best bubbly – his journey started out with three harvests in Champagne before returning to South Africa where he chairs the Cap Classique Association and is a member of the Cape Winemakers Guild. The Blanc de Blancs 2016 is no exception to his rule of excellence.
In the glass, the wine smiles at the eye with an enchanting luminous straw yellow colour, enlivened by a fine beady mousse.
The experience on the palate is a display of classic yeasty tones beneath an ocean of fine bubbles, these being layered with flavours of lime pith, citrus peel and green almond, the wine finishing on a comforting brioche note. The experience is memorable, a Cap Classique focus and precision with a firm, well-integrated mousse and persistent bead – the universal lifeblood of a great bottle-fermented sparkling wine.
The Chardonnay was selected from various vineyard blocks in the famous Robertson wine region, some 160km east of Cape Town. Here the region’s unique soils of weathered shale-rich limestone deposits have ensured Robertson’s status as South Africa’s leading region for the growing of Cap Classique grapes.
In the quest for optimum terroir expression of the Cape Winelands, Chardonnay grapes for this Blanc de Blancs are sourced from a diversity of sites located in a spectrum of spectacular pockets of the Western Cape’s geography. Grapes are hand-picked whereafter each bunch undergoes a thorough selection process ensuring only the finest and healthiest fruit is approved to partake in the magical journey of Cap Classique crafting.
Whole-bunch press separates the cuvée from the taille, with only the pure, unblemished cuvée portion used to further the process. After settling, most of the beautiful clear juice is fermented in stainless steel tanks, with a small portion set aside to undergo fermentation in traditional French oak barrels from Tonnellerie Artisanale de Champagne (Pièce Champenoise). This oaked component offers complexity and depth, as well as the focus point required to establish the wine’s exceptional status. The various individual parcels are then selected through a rigorous tasting process to choose individual sections for the Blanc de Blancs.
After the initial fermentation, the wine is prepared for secondary fermentation in the bottle. Here the wine is allowed to live on the lees for six years, drawing structure, palate weight and, of course, creating the millions of magical bubbles. The sediment is removed through the traditional process of remuage and dégorgement, after which the bottles are corked and laid down for six months cork maturation.
6 years on the lees adds layers of brioche character and the limey, almondine mouthful of soft and fluffy mousse leaves you wishing you had bought an extra case!
- 94pts | Tim Atkin
12% alc vol
|Units of Alcohol per Bottle
Pairs deliciously with freshly shucked oysters and other seafood.
|WO Western Cape