Time for bubbles! One simply cannot visit the Elgin wine region without sampling some truly local sparkling wine. Charles Fox sticks to the traditional French method of Champagne making – and in South Africa we call it Methode Cap Classique or MCC for short. Here’s to my 113 wine farm visit!
Charles Fox is about a 1.5 hours drive out of Cape Town and it is here in cool-climate Elgin that businessman, Charles Fox from Johannesburg, decided to peruse his dream of MCC making in The Western Cape.
After extensive research for the best possible region, Charles and his wife Zelda found Furneaux farm in 2005 – which was originally an Apple, Pear and Plum farm.
Charles Fox vineyards are planted between 230 and 300m above sea level and just a stones throw away from the Atlantic Ocean. The perfect conditions to make MCC!
Charles Fox produces six types of MCC. All lovingly grown, fermented, bottled and labeled on the estate.
With their first vintage being 2010, the Charles Fox Vintage Brut Rosé (my favourite) snapped up a 4.5 stars rating in the 2013 Platters guide. The cipher is also turning heads having spent 5 years on the lees.
Enjoy four MCC tastings at R55 per person or five at R85. You can also buy by the glass or bottle. Note that food is not available at this estate however just down the road, South Hill has a restaurant.
The tasting room is quite homely and well suited for large groups.
I however preferred to sit outside and sip away whilst the sun was setting – what bliss! Also if you have children, you can watch them play on the jingle gym from this spot.
MCC making philosophy:
The cellar was built in 2010 and get this… the underground storage facility can hold up to 200 000 bottles! That’s a whole lot of MCC! Each of these bottles are placed carefully to rest here by hand.
With the help of Champagne consultant, Nicolas Follet, Zelda ensures that the greatest care is taken into making their MCC. Grapes are not left in cold storage overnight but are lightly pressed straight away after picking and then into the fermentation tanks.
Each bottle is filled, and then further fermented in bottle before going through the disgorging, dosage, sealing and labeling process – all on site and by hand!
This riddling rack above is probably the only automated bit through the entire process.
We had such a great time at Charles Fox that it was hard to leave and the sun was setting 🤣
Charles Fox is open 7 days a week from 10am to 4pm. https://charlesfox.co.za/