I left Franschhoek at 16:15 to blog this after having taken my seat at Reuben’s at 11:00 for the WINE Magazine Amorim Cork Cap Classique Challenge. But as I trotted into the rain and grey main road, fellow guests Lizelle Gerber, JP Colmant, Anton Smal and Marize Uys were still drinking bubbly like it was going out of fashion, and are probably still continuing to do so.
Despite the un-sparkling weather, it was a great, relaxed occasion. Which suited the winner of this year’s Challenge, namely Johan Malan from Simonsig. He took the title for the Simonsig Kaapse Vonkel Brut 2005, which was judged both Best Vintage and Best Overall at the eighth annual WINE magazine Amorim Cork Cap Classique Challenge. And, to crown that achievement, the same wine in magnum scooped second place.
Despite being a likeable, laid-back dude, Johan always strikes me as one of those no-bullshit, get-on-with-the-job winemakers who lets his wines do the talking. He was a popular winner in person, and there can be no doubt that his winning wine deserved the Gong. It is elegantly bracing, sensually zingy and full and complete, and reminds me of a Louis Armstrong trumpet solo, of which any one can do.
Five wines from 70 entries made it to the second and final round of the Cap Classique judging, with Malan’s 2005 Kaapse Vonkel, disgorged in July 2007, taking line honours and earning 4?+¦?????+¦???+¦ Stars, and the same wine, bottled in magnum and disgorged in April this year, placing second, with 4 Stars.
The other three top-scorers are the Klein Constantia Brut 2006, Desiderius Pongr?+¦???+¦?+¦-ú?+¡cz 2001 and Teddy Hall Blanc de Blancs 2005, all 4 Stars.
I like Chardonnay in my sparkle, so Adam Mason’s Klein Constantia Brut 2006 did the trick for me. Underbaked, fresh and zippy, this wine is going to be a classic in four year’s time.
The 2009 Cap Classique Challenge introduced new accolades recognising the best in various sub-categories. In addition to Best Vintage, the Best Non-Vintage, Best Ros+¬ and Best Blanc de Blancs were also awarded for the first time, victory going to the Philip Jonker Brut Entheos, Ross Gower Pinot Noir 2007 and Klein Constantia Brut 2006 respectively.
Bubbly enthusiasts will have the opportunity to sample the Top 10 wines from the Challenge at public tastings in Johannesburg and Cape Town on 6 and 22 October respectively. Tickets cost R150 a person and can be booked by phoning 0860 100 205, emailing email@example.com or visiting www.WINEmag.co.za to book online.
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