Cellarmaster Martin Moore and his team started planning for an MCC bubbly in 2011, intending to round off Durbanville Hills’ three-tier wine range and complement the restaurant offering.
“As a team we played around with a great many ideas. Sparkling wine has become a crowded and highly contested segment of the local wine market and we knew we would be up against tough competition.
“We decided to make what the French call a ‘blanc de blancs’ meaning ‘white of whites’ exclusively from white-wine grapes, usually chardonnay. There were several reasons for this decision: there are not many blanc de blancs on the local market but, more importantly, chardonnay as a variety performs exceptionally well in our cool-climate Durbanville area.”
In 2012 the team identified a vineyard block known for producing grapes with high acidity and low pH. The grapes were harvested early when the sugar was low, and crushed whole to minimise phenolic extraction. “Most of the juice was fermented in tank but a portion was pumped into older vats. Malolactic fermentation was induced as a precaution to avoid a possible third fermentation in the bottle.
“The almost neutral base wine you begin with, will give no indication of what it will become. But as it remains on the lees in the bottle, the personality develops and increases in complexity until, after three years, as in our case, you end up with a wine that is a sheer delight to drink.
“I find this wine has an abundance of citrus notes on the palate which is well supported by a natural crisp acidity – serving it with fresh oysters will really bring out the best in both.”
About 3,000 litres of the 2012 vintage were made, and the wine will become a permanent addition to the Durbanville Hills range.
Available: From the cellardoor and online at The Vinoteque