JC le Roux Pops Three Celebratory Corks at Amorim Cap Classique Challenge

Tuesday, 2 October, 2012
Distell producer The House of JC le Roux and a flurry of vintage wines dominated this year's Amorim Méthode Cap Classique Challenge, the leading competition honouring producers of South Africa's premier sparkling wine category. The awards were made during a luncheon at the 12 Apostles Hotel in Cape Town on the 20th September.
JC le Roux won two of the categories: Best Rosé and Best Blended Cap Classique for the JC le Roux Pinot Noir Rosé 2008 and the JC le Roux Scintilla 2003 respectively. The JC le Roux Scintilla 2003, a blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, received the highest rating from the panel of five judges, also making this wine the Overall Winner at the 2012 Amorim Cap Classique Challenge.

Simonsig Estate from Stellenbosch, like JC le Roux a former winner at this event, won the Blanc de Blancs category with the Simonsig Cuvée Royale Blanc de Blancs 2007.

The Museum Class, introduced for the first time at this year's competition and open to wines from a vintage prior to 2007, was won by the House of Krone - Twee Jonge Gezellen, one of the pioneers of Cap Classique wines. Its winning Museum Class wine was the Krone Borealis Vintage Cuvée Brut 2001 (Pinot Noir-Chardonnay).

According to Joaquim Sá, MD of Amorim Cork SA, the winners of this year's competition will add to the legacy and heritage of the Cap Classique category, now one of the strongest components of the South African wine industry.

"Producers have attained a marked level of seriousness about Cap Classique, treating them like the fine wines they are by allowing for the benefits of lees contact and years of bottle maturation," says Sá. "The youngest winner in this year's competition was over four years old, yet along with the younger entries it showed freshness and verve, complemented by the complexities found in great wines that have been allowed to age."

Sá said that since the inception of the Amorim Cap Classique Challenge in 2002, the objective was to help create an awareness of the importance of fruit quality, technical skill and understanding of this magical product.

"I would like to believe that the producers have, through this competition, now proven beyond doubt that Cap Classique deserves a place among the finest categories and styles found in the South African wine landscape," he said.

Pieter Ferreira, Chairman of the Cap Classique Association, said the Amorim Cap Classique Challenge is an annual highlight for producers. "For the individual winemaker it is exciting to submit your wines for judging in such a competitive category where producer numbers and quality standards are growing annually," he said.

"But the true winner is the category of Cap Classique. By working towards this competition, by learning from the judges' comments and scores and by celebrating the winners, all the country's Cap Classique producers benefit. And the cherry on top is the fact that this heightened awareness of our product gets terrific exposure in the marketplace, as the annual increase in sales can attest to."

Ferreira said total Cap Classique production is approximately seven million bottles per annum with local sales doubling every five years.

According to Allan Mullins, convenor of the judging panel, progress in general quality was evident among this year's entries.

"In judging this year's Amorim line-up, the panel saw wines with harmonious flavour profiles, perfectly balanced between acidity and fruit with none of the greenness and harsh acids of grapes picked too early, which had often been a problem in the past," said Mullins. "Although it would have been nice, we did not have to taste the base wines to know that these would have shown the fingerprints of experienced winemakers.

"But what really stood out this year was the management of lees contact to generate fine bubble beads and textured mousse which really brings the flavours of the base wines and the respective grape varieties to the fore. The superb quality of this aspect of the Cap Classiques judged leads me to believe producers are reaching new levels of expertise in their understanding of this category."
Elunda Basson from The House of JC le Roux with her three Amorim Cap Classique Awards
Elunda Basson from The House of JC le Roux with her three Amorim Cap Classique Awards

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