A coffee table book with contemporary appeal, this beautifully illustrated book tells the history of South Africa’s prestige méthode Cap Classique (MCC) sparkling wines. The story begins, however, way back in 1500 BC in Phoenicia and winds its way through the ages via Dom Perignon – who arrived at Hautvilliers, Champagne in 1668 – to the early 1970’s when certain intrepid South African winemakers chose to blaze a new trail across the Cape winelands. Despite the frustrating prescriptions of the large wine cooperatives and the isolating confines of the apartheid years, these pioneers of the Cap Classique industry made bold, highly individual attempts to master a new kind of wine in South Africa – bottle-fermented bubbly made in the traditional French style. Today, Cap Classique is the country’s fastest growing wine category; the rising star of our wine industry.

This book charts the story of this phenomenal success. You will learn more about the top sparkling wine estates who all follow the stringent guidelines of the traditional, bottle-fermented méthode Champenoise in the creation of their unique and diverse Cap Classiques. You will be introduced to some of South Africa’s dedicated bubbly producers and get an idea of not just who makes it, but how it is made and – most importantly, how much it is enjoyed!

The book is filled with uplifting quotes, expressions and poetry. There are beautiful photographs to show off the estates; the harvesting and production. A highlight of the book is the inclusion of scrumptious examples of food and Cap Classique pairings for brunch, lunch and dinner. There are notes on Cap Classique and cheese; Cap Classique and (Lindt)chocolate desserts; and exquisite Cap Classique cocktails created especially for the book by the Cape Grace Hotel; as well as clever tips for exceptional entertaining. There is also an intriguing explanation by a microbiologist of exactly why MCC has such a sparkling effect on any occasion! Pieter Ferreira, cellar master at Graham Beck Estate and Chairman of the Cap Classique Association has written the foreword; and Allan Mullins, wine master both at Woolworths and for the award-winning Taste Magazine, explains how to pair food and Cap Classique. Well-known chefs have provided their recipes for a variety of exceptional dishes.

The timing for this publication is perfect. Celebrating Méthode Cap Classique provides the first, comprehensive insight into the South African bubbly industry at a time when more people want to know all about it. Cap Classique has changed from an exclusive aperitif kept for weddings to an affordable drink with uplifting and invigorating qualities that can be enjoyed on every occasion by the young and old (of drinking age). This is a book that will be appreciated by connoisseurs and aspiring bubbly drinkers alike who would like to explore, learn and enjoy. It is a book for you!

Celebrating Méthode Cap Classique is available from Avondale’s Tasting Gallery at R300.