The story of a showpiece vineyard has been captured in a new, premium Méthode Cap Classique now included in the flagship Sense of Place range launched earlier this year. The 2018 Anna Christina MCC is made in limited quantity, of 100% Chardonnay from a top-performing Stellenbosch vineyard.
Anna Christina was the vivacious eldest daughter of Antonie Vlotman, a well-known Stellenbosch wine pioneer. Vlotman was the first wine farmer of the Vlottenburg area that is home to Stellenbosch Hills, producer of the new MCC. The Vlottenburg Cellar was established in 1945 and changed its name to Stellenbosch Hills in 2003.
The sprightly new wine celebrates this heritage and the winery’s lineage of excellence.
Enticingly elegant, the wine shows aromas of fresh Granny Smith apples and citrus blossoms with a nutty yeastiness on the nose. Crisp acidity tingles the well-balanced palate while a delicate mousse delivers a satisfying, mouth-filling explosion of bubbles with every sip.
The MCC is the latest addition to Sense of Place, Stellenbosch Hills’ standard-bearer range that puts the spotlight on the terroir of its Stellenbosch vineyards. The Sense of Place range also features a 2017 wooded Chenin Blanc titled Kastanjeberg and a Cape Blend, Suikerboschrand 2015.
In his enthusiasm about the latest addition, winemaker James Ochse says there are few better ways to celebrate a prestige range in the heartland of South African MCC.
“Stellenbosch is the birthplace of Cap Classique and some of the most awarded bubblies hail from our region,” he says, adding that Chardonnay is one of three main varieties used for the making of champagne.
“The focus on this single-vineyard means only a very small volume could be produced. The Chardonnay we used hails from the producer farm whose fruit is reserved exclusively for our top-end wine ranges.”
Vineyards on the By-Den-Weg farm grow in ideal soils of decomposed granite. The specific block used for the MCC has a south- and east-facing aspect, unique in Stellenbosch, and enjoys a cooler Mediterranean climate with oceanic influences from False Bay. This allows for slower ripening and captures intense flavour in the grape skins.
The fruit was handpicked and processed using a pneumatic press, which allows for gentle extraction of the best juice. Winemaking of the Anna Christina MCC then followed the traditional French method for the making of champagne. After 15 months on the lees, the bottles are riddled and disgorged – handling techniques to free the wine of sediment. They are then topped off with a final dosage before corking.
“We are very proud of this wine. The 2018 has all the attributes to gain in richness and complexity for four to six years,” says James.
It should be enjoyed chilled and pairs beautifully with fresh oysters or pâté.
The 2018 Anna Christina MCC is available from the cellar door and exclusive wine retailers around the country as well as on the wine lists of leading restaurants. It sells for around R195/bottle.