Zanie Viljoen is the Cap Classique specialist winemaker at Anthonij Rupert Wyne, which will be showcasing some of its bubblies in the L’Ormarins range, at the Johannesburg Cap Classique & Champagne Festival taking place on Saturday, April 9 and Sunday, April at the Inanda Polo Club in Sandton.
We managed to get 5 minutes with the dynamic Viljoen, who is currently busy with harvesting, to talk all things bubbly:
Why are you taking part in the festival and what makes your wines stand out?
I think the Johannesburg Cap Classique and Champagne Festival is a must on the Joburg calendar for lovers of bubbly, as it presents a wonderful opportunity to sample some of the top South African Cap Classique wines as well as a few Champagne and sparkling wines all in one arena. L’Ormarins, a brand that is known to over-deliver on quality, will be showcasing their latest release L’Ormarins Private Cuvée 2014. This Cap Classique made from 66% Chardonnay & 34% Pinot Noir hail from cool-climate vineyards on Altima boasts tangy freshness coupled with toasty sourdough notes as a result of the long ageing period on the lees.
Why is bubbly your passion?
I love it when I see people enjoying our Cap Classiques. It makes the hard work and long wait before these wines can be released all worthwhile.
Why do you believe there has been this huge surge in the popularity of South African bubbly?
I think South Africans enjoy celebrating milestones and significant events in their lives and sometimes create an excuse to do so! Bubbly is also so well suited as a refreshing drink in our warm climate.
What has changed on the South African bubbly scene in the last decade?
We have improved our knowledge and skills enormously in the past 10 years. There is now a vast array of quality Cap Classiques available which deliver on freshness, aroma, crispness and creaminess. The selection is wide and the market has something to suit everyone’s palate and pocket.
Do SA consumers buy French champagne just for the image and how do we change that? Consumers can be inclined to purchase big Champagne brands because it seems sophisticated and associated with great quality. Bubbly festivals such as this one not only provide the unique opportunity to do comparative tasting but also put more focus on locally produced Cap Classique, championing the value and quality of our locally produced products.
Do Cap Classiques provide value for money?
They most certainly do as it goes through the same strict processes as Champagne making and often spends the same amount of time – or even more in some cases – on the lees than a well-made Champagne. We also have access to excellent quality grapes (using the same grape varietals of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay as in France) which is, of course, where it all starts!
Give us some of your favourite bubbly and food pairings?
Cap Classique pairs well with both sweet and savoury dishes, but lighter flavours, acidity and freshness is the key, especially fish and seafood. I love a glass of cap Classique with the likes of steamed crayfish or lobster tails; grilled snapper or grilled mackerel and for dessert I’d choose something like a raspberry Charlotte or a vanilla poached plum pavlova
Other Cap Classique producers at the Johannesburg Cap Classique & Champagne Festival – which is proudly sponsored by Sanlam Private Wealth – include Krone, Simonsig, Kleine Zalze Black Elephant Vintners, Graham Beck, Bon Courage, Boschendal, Villiera, Siwela Wines and La Bri. French Champagne will be represented by the likes of Luc Belaire and Champagne Deutz and also present will be Veuve Du Vernay, a sparkling wine from France.
The Johannesburg Cap Classique and Champagne Festival
- Saturday, April 9 from 11:00 to 16:00
- Sunday, April 10 from 11:00 to 16:00
- Venue: Inanda Polo Club, Sandton
- Tickets: R395pp (includes a glass and 10 tasting coupons)
- Booking: www.webtickets.co.za
- Social media: #BubblyFestival