Irene Waller, GM and Winemaker for La Bri Estate in the south east corner of the Franschhoek Valley, has realised a dream, long in the making to produce a Méthode Cap Classique wine.
Following the tradition Champagne method of a second fermentation in the bottle, allows the wine to be designated MCC, Blanc de Blancs
[white of whites].
Chardonnay Grapes arriving at the cellar at dawn
The grapes for the Sauvage La Bri 2011 are all Chardonnay from the oldest block on the farm planted in 1991, 21 years old, an old vineyard in South African terms.
Irene brought the hand-picked grapes into the cellar on 31st January 2011. Here they were hand sorted and then whole bunch pressed ad the juice taken to three previously used barrels for fermentation. After two months, the wine was bottled with a shot of sugar and a special yeast, capped with a crown cork and then left to complete the second fermentation. 5 years on the lees built up rich flavours in the wine before being disgorged without a dosage – a brut nature Cap Classique.
Irene Waller, La Bri’s GM & Winemaker
It looks like
Classical Champagne packaging. The label is illustrated with Blushing Brides, Serruria Florida. In the glass, a pale golden straw with the tiniest of bubbles rushing to the surface to form a crown around the rim of the glass.
It smells like
Lovely yeasty, nutty whiffs, Granny Smith apples and sweet tropical limes.
It tastes like
Blast of fruit with a harmonius acidity and undertow of oak spice. Long, balanced and an elegant aftertaste.
Justine Wall’s Anchovies & Cucumber
It’s good with
This is a wine, not only for celebration. Open it up mid-morning on a Sunday to ameliorate the emotions aroused by the Sunday papers. Have it in the week with a suitable supper, or broach it with a large plate of the freshest chilled oysters.
It does work well with little plates before a main course and Justine Wall’s Anchovies & Cucumber works so well. Click here for her recipe.
Justine Wall with some of her garden bounty
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