Lizelle Gerber, Boschendal’s White Wine & MCC Maker
Lizelle Gerber is the much-awarded white wine and MCC maker at the Boschendal Winery. Long before her time, Boschendal was an early entrant into Méthode Cap Classique, the traditional Champagne style wine with the second fermentation in the bottle, now designated as Méthode Cap Classique. She is a fine exponent of this style of wine.
Lizelle checking on a bottle fermentation
I always try and get people to get out of their minds that Cap Classique is only a wine for festive or celebratory occasion. It’s just great as a mid-morning refresher over the weekend, fabulous as the wine for a midweek supper.
But with Valentine’s Day on the horizon, these wines are perfect for the dinner you plan with your love, be it a picnic on the beach, supper under the vines on your patio, or at the bottom of the lawn or in a formal restaurant setting,
Boschendal Brut Chardonnay Pinot Noir nv
The classical way to make this style of wine is to make what they call the ‘base wine’ which in the case of the Boschendal Brut in the almost equal quantities of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are picked early in the ideal ripeness window. For the Brut Rosé Pinotage is the lead grape with lesser quantities of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. The base wine is then blended and prepared for bottling. During the bottling process, in the classic Champagne shape bottle, a squirt of sugar and a special yeast is added to the wine before the application of a crown cork.
Boschendal Brut Rosé nv
The second fermentation takes place in the bottle and the carbon dioxide given off in this process is forced into the wine creating the wonderful bubbles or mousse as it is known in the business. The wine usually lies down on the lees for a minimum of 12 months before being disgorged [removal of the expired yeast cells and lees], given a dosage to correct the sugar levels, the cork is inserted and the wire muzzle attached. The usually formal and traditional labels and foiling are then applied.
Chardonnay ripening on the vine
They look like
Boschendal Brut and Boschendal Brut Rosé are both bottled in elegantly liveried bottles closed with a cork stopper and wire muzzle to hold the cork in, the pressure in that bottle is like that of a bus tyre. The mousse in both is fine with a myriad of the tiniest of bubbles rushing headlong to the top of the glass to form a crown around the circumference.
Pinot Noir ripening on the vine
They smell like
The classical yeast nutty, fresh baked brioche whiffs are present in both. The Brut tends toward aromas of lemon and citrus and green apples. The Rosé has the undertow of red fruit and also the crispness of tropical limes.
They taste like
The crispness and freshness of both are hugely appealing, as are the mid palate, full and creamy and the long aftertaste. Varietal imprint is low as the grapes are picked early for great acidity and low sugars to create a low alcohol in the base wine which is then elevated during the second fermentation
Nadia Graves’s Tomato & Chorizo Tart
They are good with
Chill, chill, chill. Really chilled, this wine is a real perker upper. When you’ve read the Sunday papers and you need a bit of a lift. Years ago, a winemaker said to me, it gives anything on the menu a go. I prefer cold foods with gentle flavour like smoked fish, indeed fish paté on a crisp bruschetta. Oysters love Cap Classique as do mussels, clams, sashimi and sushi.
Here is a lovely snack for Cap Classique when you want a glass outside of meal times. It is Nadia Graves’s Tomato & Chorizo Tart. Click here for her recipe.
Nadia Graves from the Dordogne in France
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