November 28 2013 at 12:13pm By Myrna Robins
Cape Town - Fizzytherapy, they call it at Villiera, and they have good reason to indulge in the practice this month. This Stellenbosch family estate celebrates winning the SAA Cap Classique trophy with its Brut Natural 2009 in the annual SAA Wine Awards, the sixth time it has clinched the award.
On a different note, the installation of three pods of the Owethu modular medical clinic on the farm is a development that will provide quality medical and dental care to Villiera employees, their families and those on surrounding farms, serving at least 1 000 patients.
The clinic, which will open in January, is being developed by the Cipla Foundation, with David Grier as managing trustee, and is the first in a programme that will provide rural communities with access to health care and education.
The Pebbles Project will run the clinic and Villiera, which is undertaking security and infrastructure, has been recognised for its contribution with the M&S Partnership Award. This British enterprise, which works with more than 100 South African food and wine suppliers, rewards those who combat climate change, reduce waste and trade ethically.
Even Villiera’s game sanctuary was the source of good news this month, with the arrival of a female giraffe and her young calf.
Villiera is a source of consistently fine, value-for-money bubbly. The cellar has released several new vintages, along with the non-vintage Tradition Brut. This Cap Classique is zesty and fruity with moderate alcohol levels.
Those of the Starlight Brut peak at less than 10 percent, yet the wine offers similar characteristics to Tradition, being produced from the same blend. Those who like their bubblies rosy have taken to the Tradition Rosé Brut with enthusiasm – all three sell for R90.
Consumers allergic to sulphur toasted the year when Villiera launched its Brut Natural (R115), an all-chardonnay MCC with no added sulphur.
The cellar’s flagship, Monro Brut 2008 (R175) over-delivers on quality: only produced when conditions are perfect, it spent four-and-a-half years on lees, its yeasty aromas followed by toast and a complex aftertaste. It achieved gold at the Amorim MCC Challenge.
The Magic of Bubbles can claim to be the Franschhoek event that heralds the season with a festival of fine fizz. It takes place on the lawns around the Huguenot monument on November 30 and December 1.
Winemakers will present some of the Cape’s best Cap Classiques alongside French Champagnes, and the valley’s chefs will offer innovative gourmet bites. This year’s dress theme is black and white, with an emphasis on spots and stripes. Prizes await best-dressed couples.
Visitors will find 15 premium Cape bubblies. Valley cellars taking part are Pierre Jourdan, Morena, Moreson, La Motte, Boschendal, Leopard’s Leap, Anthonij Rupert Wines and Graham Beck Wines.
From other regions, look out for Noble Hill, Plaisir de Merle, Pongracz, Krone, Simonsig, Villiera and Steenberg, which recently released an all-sauvignon blanc Cap Classique (R95), made in prosecco-style. Youthful and crisp, it’s likely to become a festive favourite.
Pierre Jourdan’s Brut (R100), Belle Rose (R155) and Tranquille (R45) offer enjoyable variations on the classic Champagne duo of chardonnay and pinot noir.
No festival of fizz would be complete without Simonsig’s lively Kaapse Vonkel, the first MCC or Cap Classique to be produced in South Africa.
Tickets at R200 include tasting glass and coupons. Under-18s go in free. The festival runs from noon to 5pm. Book through www.webtickets.co.za. For details, see www.franschhoekmcc.co.za.
Stellenbosch Hills, home to a range of quality and unpretentious wines, announced the results of its 2013 Droëwors Maker of the Year contest last week, with a sheep and garlic farmer from the Great Karoo claiming the first prize.
Martin Scholtz of Loxton used kudu, springbok and Afrikaner mutton – all from animals reared on his farm – to make the winning wors, spiced with a blend from sponsor Freddy Hirsch.