The intrigue that is Franschhoek Méthode Cap Classique

Friday, 1 December, 2017
Hein on Wine, Hein Koegelenberg
Whether it is the rich heritage, the special secondary fermentation in the bottle, the controversy around its name or just the fact that it is used to celebrate life's big moments, most agree that there is something unique and extraordinary about Champagne. And even when it is called Méthode Cap Classique, there is no denying the fascination with this drink!

In anticipation of the annual Franschhoek Cap Classique and Champagne festival, I was invited to join a twitter talk on what it is that makes Franschhoek Bubbly special. #FhkBubbly attracted a lot of attention and the enthusiasm with which participants responded made it clear that sparkling wines still have their je ne sais quoi.

So what is it that makes Franschhoek bubbly special?

Terroir
Trust the winemaker in me to first think of the terroir. The Franschhoek Valley's natural affinity for Chardonnay is no secret and together with Semillon, it is regarded as the future of wine production in the Valley.

Those in the know says Chardonnay performs best when planted in lime-rich (chalky) soils, something Franschhoek does not have. Franschhoek’s climate is also much warmer than the head office of Chardonnay – Burgundy and Champagne. Franschhoek does have poor, well-drained soils – another prerequisite - but can that be enough? Still, Chardonnays from the Valley consistently perform well internationally and it is difficult to deny that Franschhoek Chardonnay has that special X-factor: the recognisable lime, citrus and cashew nut on the nose, a creamy texture with minerality on the palate and a lingering follow through. And as a tribute to the French Huguenot heritage of our area, Franschhoek Chardonnay often offers that oatmeal character some of the best French examples are known for.

When it comes to Franschhoek MCC, Chardonnay is known for contributing the interesting combination of creaminess and freshness with a silky mouth feel and apple flavours. Pinot Noir contributes the intricacies of strawberries and spice and just a slightly deeper nuance to the colour of the wine or of course the delicate pink when it is rosé. A special sparkling wine clone of Pinot Noir also flourishes in the Valley's sandy soils.

Culinary Companion
Franschhoek is regarded as the country's culinary capital and while the Valley's just shy of 60 restaurants offer a wide variety of food and wine pairings, the versatility of Méthode Cap Classique makes it a popular choice for restaurateurs and patrons alike. From the opulent choices of caviar, snails, crayfish and pâté, it elegantly partners with seafood, never disappoints with creamy cheese or eggs in any form and even makes for a charming partner to a variety of desserts and sweets. 

To read more online, click here.

Thomas Davidson

Thomas joined wine.co.za in May 2019 after graduating from Stellenbosch University with a BA in History & Ancient Cultures and completing a certificate in Business Management and Entrepreneurship at the Graduate School in Stellenbosch. He moonlights as a radio presenter at MFM - and has an incredible passion for wine. 
We are delighted to have him on the team.