Thursday, October 13, 2011

Model Cap Classique

Bubbles Ferreira has pulled off another Cap Classique coup with the unveiling this week of Graham Beck Brut Zero (zero dosage), the low-cal version for size zero models - and seasoned wine drinkers who find technically dry wines increasingly sweet. While I am not a fan of the word because you can't taste minerals in wine, this wine does display what is generally termed as minerality (maybe think stone/fruit pips) and a delicious nutty/fino sherry like savouriness to arrive at an umami tsunami bubbly.

This wine has only 2, 4g/lt of sugar balanced by only 5,5g/lt of acid - lower than found in its fully-dressed siblings. Alcohol calories also low at 12%. There is no sugar to paper over cracks - not that there were any - and the bubbles amplify the wine's attributes four-fold, so viticulture and winemaking has to be expert and precise.

Richness comes from 72 months sur lie while a portion of the chardonnay was lightly oaked. (13% Pinot Noir). Meanwhile Harpers reports that sales of lighter style wines are up 61% in the UK off-trade but I doubt this is merely a case of serendipity.

Bubbles teamed up with long-standing Franschhoek mate and world-rated chef  Margo Janse (le quartier francais) to produce a sublime pairing with a slightly smoked oyster with cucumber, granadilla and chourizo.

However, the wine and dish of the day was edged by the main of guineafowl paired with 1993 Blanc de Blanc which must be a strong contender for the best bubbly Pieter has ever made. It made me reconsider one of my favourite acronyms  BLIC (balance, length, intensity and complexity) but F for fresh just doesn't seem to fit. F-BLIC? BLIFC?

But this was was fresh with a capital F, despite 10 years sur lie and 8 years on the cork. Pieter said he wished he had made more notes on the production but they were helter-skelter early days before the cellar even had a roof - biodynamics would probably attribute the moon. It was exceptionally well paired with the perfectly cooked and delicate guineafowl.

The second course of mushroom, sorrel and celeriac (again lots of umami) was paired with 08 Vintage Brut Rose and I experimented with the Cuvee Clive 05, their Grande Marques, expecting the marmite notes (5 years sur lie) to pair well with the shrooms yet they negated the yeastyness while the rose fruit was accentuated by the shrooms, contrasting rather than complementary flavours making the match. With both Bubbles and Margo apparently at the height of their powers, it was certainly a day to remember.

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