The Amorim Cap Classique Challenge, South Africa’s largest competition celebrating Cap Classique wines, experienced a record-breaking year with an astonishing 157 entries. This prestigious event, sponsored by Amorim Cork, honors and recognizes the finest Cap Classique wines in the country. In this year of heightened competition, KWV Laborie emerged as the standout winner, claiming the coveted title of “Best Producer Overall” with their Laborie Blanc de Blancs 2017. The achievement was further solidified as Laborie also clinched the title for “Best Blanc de Blancs,” reinforcing their excellence in the world of sparkling wines.
Celebrating Excellence in Cap Classique
The Cap Classique Challenge, in partnership with the Cap Classique Producers Association, has been a pillar of South Africa’s wine industry since its inception in 2002. It commemorates the traditional method of secondary bottle fermentation, pioneered by the late Frans Malan of Simonsig in 1971, that has come to define the art of Cap Classique production.
Joaquim Sá, Managing Director of Amorim Cork in South Africa and the driving force behind the inaugural Cap Classique Challenge 22 years ago, underscores the event’s significance. He comments on the growing vibrancy of the Cap Classique category, with an increasing number of producers making their mark in this premium sector of South African wine.
The Rise of Cap Classique
Over the past decade, Cap Classique has solidified its position as one of the Cape’s premier wine offerings, lauded by critics, judges, and consumers alike. The very name “Cap Classique” has become synonymous with elegance, proudly representing the effervescent lifestyle associated with sparkling wine.
Amorim Cork’s role as the world’s leading supplier of corks for sparkling wines aligns seamlessly with its association with Cap Classique. This long-standing partnership has not only created awareness of the category but also contributed to the overall enhancement of Cap Classique quality in South Africa.
Judges’ Impression: Quality Soars
Heidi Duminy, a Cape Wine Master who led the panel of judges, reports that this year witnessed an exceptionally high standard of Cap Classique entries. She notes that patience has been rewarded, with an evident rise in complexity achieved through extended lees aging, balanced by vibrant fruit expressions and fine bubbles.
Duminy emphasizes the positive impression made by this year’s entries, highlighting the continued development of a distinctive South African identity across various Cap Classique styles and expressions. She observes that the bar has been raised, indicative of the category’s growing sophistication.
A Night of Celebrations
Apart from the five prestigious trophies awarded, the event recognized several producers with double gold medals for their exceptional Cap Classiques in various categories.
Double Gold Blanc de Blancs:
- Simonsig Cuvée Royale 2018
- Graham Beck Blanc de Blancs 2018
- Newstead Blanc de Blancs 2018
- L’Ormarins Blanc de Blancs 2018
Double Gold Brut:
- Simonsig Kaapse Vonkel Brut 2019
- Pongracz Desiderius 2015
- Graham Beck Cuvée Clive 2018
Double Gold Extended Aging:
- Lourensford Cuvée 124 2011
- Weltevrede Philip Jonker The Ring 2013
Legacy of Frans Malan Honored
In addition to celebrating the excellence of Cap Classique, the event also paid tribute to one of the pioneers of the category. Michael Fridjhon, South Africa’s leading wine critic and personality, was honored with the Frans Malan Legacy Trophy. Named after the visionary Frans Malan, this trophy is awarded to individuals from the wine industry who have made a profound contribution to the Cap Classique category.
Fridjhon, as the convener of a group of like-minded Cap Classique producers in 1992, played a pivotal role in founding the Cap Classique Producers Association, further elevating the status of this exceptional category.
A Sparkling Success
The Amorim Cap Classique Challenge, with its record-breaking year, stands as a testament to the thriving Cap Classique category in South Africa. It’s a celebration of excellence, a platform for innovation, and a reflection of the evolving South African identity in the world of sparkling wines. As consumers and connoisseurs alike raise their glasses to Cap Classique, the future of this proudly South African tradition sparkles brighter than ever.
For a comprehensive list of the results, including all the award-winning Cap Classiques, please visit the official website: Cap Classique Challenge Results