Frothy, feisty, feverish, fiery, fervent, frenzied, frolicking fizz – are there any more F words that could be relevant this Valentine’s Day?! No? Well, I think that’s quite enough to be going on with to get you in the mood for lurve! Of course you could go for one more ‘F’ and buy French champagne, but when we have such amazing, world-beating Cap Classiques here in South Africa – why would you bother? Here’s a quick round-up of some of my favourite local fizzes to enjoy with your loved ones on this special day.
Boschendal Grande Cuvee Brut 2007 R95 from specialist retailers
Only 1,000 litres of the top Chardonnay and Pinot cuvees are used for this wine which is then given a nice long time on the lees before being released. This is rich yet crisp with plenty of zippy citrus notes and a spankingly dry finish. Perfect for toasting each other on Valentine’s Day.
Colmant Brut Reserve 2008 R122 from the cellar
If you can’t afford/don’t want to buy French champagne, then this might be the closest thing to it! Alright, it isn’t actually made by a Frenchman – Jean-Philippe Colmant is Belgian – but he has been influenced and advised by some of the finest fizz-makers both here and abroad. This is surprisingly rich in the middle with layers of fresh green apples and yellow pears. Lots of brioche and biscuits and a long finish.
Villiera Monro 2005 R135 from specialist retailers
I tasted this again last weekend alongside a very well-known French champagne – but it was this one which I ended up drinking at the end of the lecture! A 5 Star winner from Platter, this is only made in exceptional years. An effervescent mouthful of frothy fruit with a steely backbone, a rich mid-palate and a creamy finish. Astonishing value for money for the quality.
Silverthorn ‘The Green Man’ 2008 R165 from specialist retailers
This is Steenberg cellarmaster John Loubser’s own-label MCC – and it’s a stunner. Made from 100% Chardonnay and named in honour of the ancient spirit of nature, this is a finely-worked, elegant wine with masses of crisp lemony fruit, hints of marzipan and an appetisingly toasty finish after 28 months on the lees. Right up there with South Africa – and the world’s – best.
Genevieve Blanc de Blanc 2008 R180 from specialist retailers
A garagiste wine handmade with love and affection by Melissa Nelsen in Botrivier. Melissa has had amazing success with this, her first vintage, gaining listings all over town, but when you taste the wine, you can see why. A delicious mouthful of lemony fruit wrapped up in creamy layers of appley Danish pastry and a tingling dry finish.