Bubbles on a Good Day

Debbie Thompson
Debbie Thompson

The weather is fine and crisp and as many Cape autumns are, good. It is fine to drink good sparkling wine when the days are blue and bright and you are outside and have the urge to drink something before midday.
I found a bottle of Simonsig in the refrigerator, and it was a pretty blue bottle because it was no ordinary sparkling wine, but the Cuv+¬e Royale. This has a vintage ?+¦-+???+¦-ú?-¦?+¦-ú?+¦+¦ 1999 in this case ?+¦-+???+¦-ú?-¦?+¦-ú?+¦+¦ and I notice that this wine is a Blancs de Blanc, which is a Chardonnay-only wine. However, the website says these days Cuv+¬e Royale gets a dash of Pinot Noir, but I digress.
Simonsig brings back fond memories, memories of Frans Malan introducing me to wine-tasting before I knew much about wine, or anything else for that matter. I also like the vineyards and the view and it is a wonderful place to visit ?+¦-+???+¦-ú?-¦?+¦-ú?+¦+¦ except for the restaurant, which is over-done and kitsch and camp of the tacky kind.
The people are fine folk, especially Debbie Thompson who is tall and blond and has a sunny smile and bright eyes and a figure that can make a Tibetan monk burn-down the nearest temple. She is one of the winemakers, but was not around when this Cuv+¬e Royale was made, which is a pity, but does not mean the wine is not good.
The cork slid out a bit too easily, and upon pouring the wine it had plenty of verve and life, and made a nice thick foam resting on the liquid itself, which was golden and deep.
Of course, the nose was complex and devoid of any sulphur notes so characteristic of sparkling wines marketed too soon after degorging. The nose was white pear, with a reductive character that was of no hindrance. Instead, it made the wine smell deep and airy, like a sudden breeze blowing in off the ocean, blowing in over the beds of kelp and the waves.
The mouth was rich and decadent. Full and dense, the whimsical fruit having been replaced by extraordinary complexity and with just a touch of breadiness, but not overly so. Nuts, I recall lots of nuts and softer spice. Like saffron with a hint of nutmeg. It was a gorgeous wine, a classic.
We are, indeed, ready for older Cap Classiques, as they are good and exciting to discover.
A bit garish is the presentation of the new Pongracz Brut Ros+¬. Pink on green is a big statement to make, and just because Dom Perignon can get away with it, does not mean it is going to work for everyone.
The wine does not deliver, unfortunately, because I would have liked it to have, as the standard Pongracz is fine, and I am fond of the name because I knew the Desiderius Pongracz the Cap Classiques are named after. 05537_resized_pongracz_brut_rose_bg_low_res
The Ros+¬ wine is pale-pink and dry, but unmemorable even if you have a steady memory. Pink should be different, and not just in colour, and this wine does not have fruit, length or palate weight, which is very disappointing. Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are used, but the Pinot Noir is of a disappointing quality and brings nothing to the party, which has not even started because the Chardonnay is not there, either. The price of R90 is also not going to be liked by followers of the traditional Pongracz wine.

Earl Dexter

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