I was taught the value of the mid-morning refresher in the late 1960s when I was working at Lanzerac in Stellenbosch, at the time on of the first of the luxury country hotels in South Africa. An elderly British couple used to order breakfast in their room every day and then at 11h00 they would appear on the stoep under the oaks and order 2 ‘nips’ of Champagne. A nip is a third of an Imperial pint – or roughly 190ml in today’s talk. They would sit there quietly consuming their bubbly while ready the newspapers which arrive in the post for them almost daily. This is where I want my Asara #7 Asara MCC Brut 2015 to be. Used as a mid-morning refresher, at lunch under the pergola or a pleasant sipper at sundown.
Made in the traditional ‘Champagne’ style, designated here as Méthode Cap Classique, with a second fermentation in the bottle. The blend is 62% Chardonnay and the balance is Pinot Noir. The vineyards grow on west facing slopes and are about 15 years of age, delivering about 9 tons per hectare. The grapes are picked early in the ripening cycle to allow for a low alcohol base wine. A small amount of grapes are picked at later stages to add a bot pf complexity to the base wine. The grapes are chilled then pressed as whole bunches and the best juice, called the cuvée, is used to make the base wine. Once the fermentation is complete, the wine is bottled and given a shot of yeast and sugar and closed with a crown cork. The wine was matured in contact with the lees for just over 12 months, enough time to add complexity and texture while retaining a crisp delicacy. And this is what I find most appealing about this wine. It is then prepared for disgorgement and closure.
From a traditional Champagne shaped bottle, closed with natural cork and a wire museliére or muzzle to hold the cork in place. The Asara #7 Asara MCC Brut 2015 label is simple and elegant. In the glass the wine is a gem bright pale golden straw with the tiniest bubbles rushing headlong to the surface and forming a crown around the edges. The aromas are intense, Granny Smith apples, citrus peel and marzipan. The flavours remind of a fresh baked almond brioche, a full mid palate with delicious citrus and the bubbles ensuring a crisp fresh aftertaste which lingers a while.
As I said above, the Asara MCC Brut 2015 is the perfect glass on its own. Don’t keep it only for celebration, use it with meals or snacks. Dianne Bibby’s Portable Tapas Bar is a great summer’s evening platter. Click here for her recipe
Read more about Asara, its wine, Hotel and fabulous Gin Bar – CLICK HERE