Luan Aucamp visited Hermanus Wine Village to present a tasting of Montpellier’s wine and Methode Cap Classiques at the monthly Wine Club meeting. Luan decided to exchange his winemaker training for marketing two years ago and has put his weight behind the branding and marketing of Montpellier ever since. His creativity influenced the newly designed wine labels that give Monthpellier the fine French touch that makes it as good to look at as to drink.
Montpellier has no ties to France yet it reminds of France in more ways than one. The name, classic labels and outstanding Methode Cap Classiques are but a few French references. Luan explained that Méthode Cap Classique is made in same method as champagne but because it is not made in geographical area of Champagne we can’t call it Champagne hence the term Méthode Cap Classique or MCC. Montpellier regards MCC as their strength. They don’t have a huge production and therefore the bubblies are only available in fine wine shops such as the Wine Village and some gourmet restaurants.
An interesting South African wine fact is that Montpellier was the first South African wine farm to plant Gewurtztraminer. A nice bit of history adding to an interesting heritage. Another bit of info is that Montpellier do not use new barrels. Only second, third and fourth filled oak. Luan explained the wine term “degorgement” as the process of extracting the lees from the neck of the bottle. Danie van der Westhuizen is the winemaker and he sources all the grapes for the MCCs and red wine from the farm. He does buy in grapes for Montpellier’s Sauvignon Blanc from Bonnievale which is close to his hometown of Montague.
Wine Village Wine Club tasted the following wines:
1. Lightly wooded Chardonnay which showed tropical fruit on the pallet.
2. Méthode Cap Classique Brut Rose. Very popular. Launched in January this year and now less than 600 bottles left. This 100% Pinot Noir bubbly has an attractive faded rose petal look. The wine spent 4 years on lees to produce a fine mouse that reflects a great quality. The smaller bubbles follows through with a crisp refreshing pallet and floral bouquets. Ulla mentioned that during the Wine Celebration at Wine Village this was one of the top selling MCCs and most Wine Club members nodded in agreement that this wine was excellent value for money. Although no year is mentioned on the label it is 2012 vintage.
3. Chardonnay/Pinot Noir Méthode Cap Classique. This bubbly had a bit more of a nutty texture. Again with fine bubbles but less than Brut rose.
4. Chardonnay Méthode Cap Classique. This could easily have been called a Blanc de Blanc and Luan confessed that this is his favourite. Crisp, green apple with hints of yeast. Acidity lifts the wine flavour and this would make a great aperitif.
5. Spyseniersberg 2013. The blend is Montpellier’s top seller and dominated by the character of 48% Merlot. Then there is 9% Cabernet Sauvignon, 38% Shiraz, only 5% Petit Verdot. The cultivars are individually oaked in 2nd and 3rd fill barrels before blended. The Shiraz adds spicy notes to this wine that is front palate focused. This is an easy drinking every day wine which has 13% alcohol volume.
6. Shiraz 2012 which is Luan’s absolute favourite. The wine is kept in barrel for 12 months and as per usual no new oak is used. Beautiful colour with white pepper on finish.
7. The Montpellier Cabernet 2011 was the last wine for tasting. The fruit comes from 30 year old vines that grows next to eucalyptus trees on the farm. Although drinking very well this wine can age even further.
Luan invited Wine Club members to visit the beautiful estate where the motto is “Eat Drink and be Married”. The 300 year estate has a chapel and domed cathedral that is perfect for a wedding celebration. Also coming up is the annual Tulbagh Christmas in Winter later this month. Tickets can be bought at Tulbagh Tourism for the 2 day celebration on 24 and 25 June. Highly recommended! More news is that that Montpellier will be releasing a dry Rosé for the first time. This wine should be available in a month’s time from Wine Village.