Méthode Cap Classique (MCC) is a method of producing sparkling wine in South Africa. Similar to the méthode traditionelle used in the Champagne region of France, MCC is renowned for creating high-quality sparkling wines with distinctive South African character. Here’s an overview of Méthode Cap Classique:
1. Traditional Method: MCC follows the traditional method of producing sparkling wine, which involves a second fermentation in the bottle. This method is known for creating finer and more complex bubbles compared to other techniques like the tank or Charmat method (Prosseco).
2. Matured on Lees: After the second fermentation, MCC wines are aged on their lees (dead yeast cells) for an extended period. This lees aging imparts unique flavors and textures to the wine, enhancing complexity.
3. Chardonnay and Pinot Noir: MCC is primarily made from classic grape varieties like Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. These varietals contribute to the elegance and finesse of the wine.
4. South African Terroir: The grapes used in MCC production are often sourced from various South African wine regions, each with its unique terroir. This diversity allows winemakers to create MCC with a sense of place and individuality.
5. Quality Standards: To bear the Méthode Cap Classique label, the wine must meet specific quality standards and criteria, including time spent on lees (9 month minimum, although artisan producers go much longer than this) and production methods. This ensures that MCC wines adhere to a high level of quality and craftsmanship.
6. Range of Styles: MCC encompasses a range of styles, from bone-dry to sweet. The South African sparkling wine market offers a diverse selection of MCC to suit various palates.
7. Local Alternative to Champagne: MCC provides a local alternative to Champagne, offering wine enthusiasts a taste of South Africa’s sparkling wine tradition. It has gained international recognition for its quality and unique character.