When the clock strikes 12… I was sipping South Africa’s original Méthode Cap Classique – Kaapse Vonkel – with family and friends. Producer Simonsig has been making this bubbly at their Stellenbosch winery since 1971 and it continues to rake in awards.
Celebrations continued on the 1st of January. I have 2 close friends with birthdays on New Year’s Day and the day is usually spent with one of them. This year I joined Ilse in Agulhas at the southernmost point of Africa with a variety of exciting drinks. We had the following to taste:
- AmiciziA Prosecco DOC. Conveniently stocked by Checkers this Italian version of champagne is made in the Veneto region about 25 kilometers North of Venice. Prosecco is cheaper than champagne because the secondary fermentation takes place in stainless steel tanks and not in the bottle as with champagne.Quick Fact – Approximately 150 million bottles of Italian Prosecco are produced annually. This is about half of the champagne production.
- Jean Dorsene Brut. Produced in Burgundy, France, this sparkling wine is described by South African Tsogo Sun Group Sommelier Miguel Chan as “unfrivolous refreshing everyday drinking sparkling wine”. We added some frills with crème de cassis.
- L’Héritier-Guyot Crème de Cassis . A sweet, dark, blackcurrant liqueur produced in Dijon, France. Founded in 1845, L’Héritier-Guyot is one of the oldest producers of crème de cassis. The berries are farmed in the chalky clay soils neighbouring the vineyards of Vougeot. I adore this wine region and was privileged to visit the area and the winery Clos de Vougeot a few years ago.
- Grand Constance by Groot Constantia. Constantia Wyn was the first wine to be produced in South Africa. The original farm encompassed Groot Constantia, Klein Constantia, Buitenverwachting and Constantia Uitsig. This sticky provoked praise from Dickens and Jane Austen and was demanded by Napoleon while in exile on St Helena. Muscat grapes were and are still used to make this sought-after dessert wine.
- African Rosella flowers produced in Mossel Bay with Hibiscus sabdariffa flowers. Anina van Tonder discovered this gourmet delicacy on a trip to Australia. On a ladies night out she was greeted with frilly rosella flowers in sparkling wine. These flowers have a distinctive flavour and texture. Sweeter than rhubarb, more sour than strawberry. We added the flowers to some Jean Dorsene Brut.
With all the great tastes to kick-start 2018 my hopes are high for a great year ahead.