Know your bubbles: 10 facts about MCC, SA's answer to Champagne
Get to grips with South African bubbly and learn to distinguish between Methode Cap Classique (MCC), Champagne and sparkling wine
1. Methode Cap Classique (MCC) is the South African version of Champagne. The only difference is that Champagne grapes must be grown in the Champagne region of France, and we use local grapes.
2. MCC (and Champagne) is different to sparkling wine. The latter has carbon dioxide added later in the process. MCC also has smaller bubbles.
3. The bubbly wine style appeared in SA less than 50 years ago and is the fastest-growing wine category.
4. The first Cap Classique sparkling wine released was Simonsig Kaapse Vonkel Brut in 1971.
5. The first Kaapse Vonkel sold for R3 a bottle and was the most expensive local wine on the market then.
6. When MCC was started in 1992 there were 14 producers in South Africa. Today there are 220 producers with 300 labels on the market.
7. There are three different styles of MCC. The main criteria are vintage (the year the grapes are harvested), the type of grapes used (cultivar) and the sugar level.
8. There are two main types of glass best suited for drinking MCC. The flute, which encourages a long, slow release of bubbles so you can enjoy your fizz for longer, and the tulip glass which has the slimmer base and neck of the flute but widens in the middle - so it develops and maintains bubbles. It is of utmost importance to pour bubbly correctly - down into the centre of the glass
9. The best serving temperature for MCC is 6°C-8°C. Anything warmer and the MCC is likely to lose its flavour and delicate bubbles.
10. Bubbly is the most versatile wine and can be enjoyed with breakfast, lunch and dinner.