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My Top Ten Fizzes of 2011

Cathy chooses her fave fizzes of the year

by: Cathy Marston | 23 Dec 2011

What a lovely article to have to write! My favourite topic, discussing my favourite examples of the year. Methinks my only problem might be limiting it one article, but here goes anyway…. All prices are cellar door.

Groote Post Old Man’s Sparkle Brut Rosé NV MCC  R89

I’m not ashamed to confess a definite leaning towards the wines from this West Coast estate. The Pentzes are the nicest people, Lukas Wentzel, the winemaker, is a thoroughly lovely chap, Debbie McLoughlin of Hilda’s Kitchen on the farm cooks like an angel, and I love all their wines. All of which made this an easy choice – made from mainly Merlot, it’s delicate and fruity with a fun, playful feel.

Guy Charbaut Rosé     R400 from Chabivin
I’ve heard about these wines for a long time on twitter, but only got to taste them for the first time at the Franschhoek Fizz fest. This one is 100% Pinot Noir and has been on the lees for 36 months giving it the most extraordinary spice and aniseed character – very unexpected and highly delicious.

Jacques Bruere Brut Reserve MCC 2007        R110

Made from 60% Pinot Noir with the balance Chardonnay, 10% of the wine was barrel-fermented and kept on the lees for 8 months. A further 48 months was spent in the bottle before the wine was disgorged and kept for another 9 months before release. Phew! And was it worth it? Oh yes. Layer upon layer of toasty nuts, citrus, brioche and a savoury backbone. Ridiculously under-priced.

Villiera Monro Brut MCC 2005         R120
Five Star stunner from the Griers. This is often overlooked and underplayed amongst the mass of the hugely popular Tradition, but spending an extra R40 has never been so worthwhile. Vibrating with nervous energy and showing delightfully delicate toast and lemon curd, this is lengthy and lovely indeed.

Blanc de Blanc
Silverthorn The Green Man MCC 2008     R119

I was delighted to see John Loubser putting his children to good use at the Franschhoek Fizz Fest – start ‘em young, I always say! And really, there is no more delicious start in a vinous life than this wine – a little oak involved here, giving a wonderfully creamy palate with plenty of citrussy, yeasty lees.

Graham Beck Blanc de Blanc MCC 2008        R205
A delicious wine featuring lots of ‘added extras’ such as extended lees contact, some oak influence and lots of time in the bottle. It’s a surprisingly dry wine with flavours of nuts, honey and a salty tang making it the perfect partner for oysters and seafood.

Simonsig Kaapse Vonkel Brut MCC    R79.95

In this, the 40th anniversary year of the very first Cape Classique in South Africa, how could I fail to mention the one that started it all off? This is still as good as it ever – actually, it’s probably better because the Malan’s haven’t rested on their laurels but have continually improved over the years. And they let me disgorge my own bottle – which makes them the winner of my Fizz of the Year any day of the week!

Steenberg 1682 MCC    R99.95
This definitely wins the award for funkiest packaging – worth buying a case for the candy-striped box alone! This is such a reliable, tasty, well-made fizz which ticks all the boxes and never fails to go down well. A combination of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir with lively fruit and zingy, zesty acidity.

Eikendal Brut Sparkling    2010    R41.50

This has long been my favourite party fizz – since our Nose-days in fact. There’s little point in spending huge amounts of cash on something you want to add orange juice to, but equally so, you don’t want to have any old rubbish that is unpalatable unless you DO add in some OJ! This wine fits the bill perfectly – a well-made wine from Chardonnay, frothy and fun, a great price and good enough to enjoy all day, every day.

Kloovenburg White from Red NV    R74
Well, when they say ‘white’ it’s more like pink but I’m happy to forgive them! This comes from Kloovenburg’s signature grape, Shiraz and is intended to be an easy-drinking, anytime fun-packed fizz with lots of froth and plenty of other good things beginning with ‘f’. And it pretty much does exactly that! Party, party time.

Read more on: steenberg  |  graham beck  |  champagne  |  simonsig

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