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The market for domestically produced champagne-method sparkling wine — now universally recognised by its South African nomenclature of Methode Cap Classique (MCC) — has been growing strongly and consistently for more than a decade.
A style of wine pioneered in SA by the late Frans Malan of Simonsig more than 40 years ago, bottle-fermented sparkling wine took off slowly. There were several reasons for this. In those days, a bottle of Grande Marque Champagne retailed for about R6. No matter how much cheaper the Cape version was, the difference between the price of a bottle of Simonsig and a reputable French brand was not sufficient to sway the market.
Then there was the problem of a dire shortage of champagne cultivars: until the last decade of the 20th century, there was simply not enough quality pinot noir and chardonnay for the Cape to produce a plausible alternative to French fizz.The brands that flourished in the 1980s — Villiera’s Tradition, for example — were made mostly from v...
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