VINE TIME

Bubbly cheers to festive season’s sparkle

Wine columnist Sam Venter looks at summer choices for Prosecco, MCC and more


Since today is the “official” start of the festive season, it’s a good time to look at all things fizzy, frothy and, well, festive.
Nothing says fun and celebration quite like bubbly – whether it’s the poshest French Champagne, South African Methode Cap Classique (MCC), Italian Prosecco or a simple carbonated sparkling wine – so here are some ideas to get the festivities started.
Prosecco is growing in global popularity, for its “everyday luxury” appeal – fresh, crisp and fruity, a great food partner, and offering great value compared to its French counterpart.
All good reasons for South Africans to love it too, and no wonder more and more are appearing on local shelves.
Check out the Valdo range, widely available from major liquor outlets in PE and priced between R185 and R275, offering rosé, dry, extra dry and kosher versions, and the Floral Edition brut rosé makes a great gift in its pretty designer bottle.
Da Luca sparkling rosé is another new arrival on the prosecco scene, frothy fresh strawberries ‘n cream with a tangy sour cherry note, an interesting play of flavours that lifts it out of the ordinary and makes a great summer drink.
Also great value at a recommended selling price of R81, available from Flagstone wines and some online retailers.
Steenberg’s Sparkling Sauvignon Blanc is another interesting option – although bottle-fermented like champagnes and MCCs, it was kept on the lees for just 3 months instead of the required minimum of nine, because the makers wanted to keep it fresh and youthful, hence “sparkling” in the name rather than MCC.
Technicalities aside, it’s absolutely delicious and definitely on my go-to summer list - peachy-tropical with a dash of crisp green apple and zesty pineapple.
It should be widely available (R131 cellar door) or check out the version made for Woolies, the only difference really the turquoise label instead of orange, at a pocket-friendly 99 bucks.
Canadian rapper Drake is said to have given Moscato its cool factor with his lyrics "It's a celebration – clap clap bravo. Lobster and shrimp and a glass of moscato ..." and helped to make it a globally trendy wine.
Calitzdorp’s De Krans tapped into the trend for this lighter-alcohol, slightly sweet and gently fizzy drink a few years ago with their Premium Moscato Perlé, now also in a red version, and created a class-leading best-seller. Tropical flavours and a touch of spice, served icy-cold it’s a super all-rounder, widely available at around R59.
Reliable favourite JC le Roux celebrates the festive season with a limited edition Radiance Collection, decking out their Le Domaine, La Chanson and La Fleurette bottles in glowingly floral designs that add interest to the table or make a pretty gift (widely available, around R75).
And then, for something really special, Vondeling’s Rurale Blanc de Noir MCC is well worth tracking down, or ordering from the cellar (R265).
This is made from pinotage grapes and using the methode ancestrale which involves a single continuous fermentation from tank to bottle, where it’s then matured on the lees for 28 months.
The result is beautifully fragrant and a mouthful of complex flavours, playing off red berries, florals and a touch of spice; full-flavoured with fine, smooth bubbles. Definitely one for a celebration!

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