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Posts Tagged ‘Breede River Valley’

South African Sparkling Wine

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Graham Beck Wines Brut, NV, Méthode Cap Classique


Small Bubbles are Best for Champagne

Small Bubbles are Best for Champagne

At Graham Beck Wines in South Africa, their mission is: The eternal pursuit of the perfect bubble. Cellar Master, Pieter Ferreira philosophy’s can be summed up in this quote, “The smaller you can create that bubble, the better the chances that the wine will develop gentle flavours.” And may I add, The greater the chance you won’t wake up up with a headache. This is evident when you taste their sparkling wine.

They begin this quest by handpicking the grapes. Then the Chardonnay (55%) and Pinot Noir (45%) clutters are whole-bunch pressed, fermented separately and finally, blended along with a bit of reserve wine. Bottles are left on the lees for 15-18 months.

Their non-vintage Brut shows that classic aroma of yeast as soon as you pick up the glass. I love the breakfast-toast taste of that first sip, followed by lemon zest. I also picked up some crisp, green apple. This is a moussey sparkling with a delicious, rich creamy finish.

Graham Beck Brut Sparkling Wine

Graham Beck Brut Sparkling Wine

Graham Beck sparkling wine is produced in the Robertson region, a district of the greater Breede River Valley appellation in South Africa. It is adjacent to Paarl, another top-producing district. The winery is located approximately 90 miles outside of Cape Town.

Robertson is not the most hospitable area for wine cultivation. The nearby Breede Valley, not surprisingly has sand deposits, which makes for fertile soils. In the higher elevations, shale and red clay are the predominant soils.

Irrigation System  for Robertson Vineyards

Irrigation System for Breede Valley Vineyards

Also, with Summer, comes a hot climate, with very little rainfall. Irrigation is a must but even that is sometimes not enough. Growers also rely on wells, in addition to stored water captured from the rains. Furthermore, vintners must contend with insects, fungi and disease. In order to protect the wines, they must attack these enemies with continual spraying.  To make wines in these conditions takes passion.

I’m not saying this wine is good luck but it does happen to be the sparkling toasted by Presidents. The first democratically elected President of the Republic of South Africa, Nelson Mandela toasted his historic election victory in 1994 with a bottle of this carefully made sparkling wine. President Obama and First Lady Michelle also enjoyed a glass or two of this Brut on Nov. 4, 2008, to celebrate his historic election win.

In San Diego, you can purchase this lovely sparkling wine from Bine and Vine on Adams Ave.  It costs around $15. They carry a nice selection of South African wines.





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