Amorim Cap Classique Competition Entrants Shows their Class at 2017 Judging

Amorim Cap Classique Competition Entrants Shows their Class at 2017 Judging

From left: Spencer Fondaumiere, Cathy Marston, Higgo Jacobs, Joaquim Sá (Amorim MD), Heidi Duminy, Johan Malan and Elunda Basson.

“It’s all about time and experience.” This is the impression of Heidi Duminy, CWM, convener of the panel of judges for this year’s Amorim Cap Classique Challenge that has just completed two days of rating the wines entered into South Africa’s only exclusive bottle-fermented sparkling wine competition.

“The wines entered were judged in four categories: Brut, Blanc de Blancs, Rosé and Museum Class (eight years and older). In all classes there was a common thread of vintage influence combined with a tangible reward of longer time on lees in the more successful wines,” says Heidi, a regular panel-member in the 16-year history of Amorim’s Cap Classique Challenge. This was the first year she found herself in the role of convener.

Cap Classique is undoubtedly a well established category within the South African wine industry,” she says. “There is definitely a much deeper understanding of how to adapt traditional practice to achieve what is emerging as distinctive Cap Classique quality, stylistic expression and overall class ethos. There is a sense that experience is advancing the selection of fruit and winemaking choices as well as more patience in allowing extended lees contact. We experienced great purity of fruit together with complexity and finesse without weight.“

This year’s judging panel also included sommelier and judge Higgo Jacobs, journalist and educator Cathy Marston, while Elunda Basson from The House of JC le Roux and Pongrácz, and Johan Malan from Simonsig represented the producers. Spencer Fondaumiere, sommelier at Burrata Restaurant in Woodstock, participated as a protégé.

“Convening a panel of  such knowledgeable experts makes the judging process agile and thorough both from an aesthetic as well as technical view,” says Heidi. “All wines were tasted blind in four categories. What great value to have experienced expert producers like Johan and Elunda who are involved with Cap Classique on a daily basis on the panel. It’s important to note that their individual scores were not counted in the calculation of the final scores for their entries. This year’s results saw some high-scoring achievers, and on these there was unanimous agreement. We are all tingling in anticipation of the announcement of these stellar wines. ”

This year sees the 16th consecutive year that cork supplier Amorim sponsors the Cap Classique Challenge. Amorim South Africa MD Joaquim Sá says the competition has played a major role in making naturally fermented sparkling wines one of the leading categories in the South African wine industry.

“As proud sponsors for 16 years Amorim has seen the dynamic evolution in quality, diversity in styles and winemaker commitment within this category,” he says. “The fizz in the tale, however, has been the way the South African public has embraced Méthode Cap Classique allowing sales to flourish and to warrant the investments producers have made in the production of this style of wine.”

The winners are to be announced on 14 September at the 12 Apostles Hotel and Spa.