Pétillant red wines are perfect for any occasion, adding sweetness and a lively fizz to celebrations and festivities.
Some of South Africa’s best pétillant red wines are produced in the famous wine farming region of Franschhoek, set in the scenic valleys of the Cape Winelands. Here, in the province’s very own “French Quarter”, it’s not only world-class reds and whites that are produced, but also vibrant pétillant wines that are ideal for casual drinking or special occasions.
As the French will forever be credited with the invention and exclusive production of champagne, it makes sense that in the French Corner of the Cape, South Africa’s best sparkling wines would be produced. And, unlike the pompous (and far pricier) French variety, Cape pétillant wines are light, sweet and well-priced, ensuring that they can be widely enjoyed and often replaced!
When next you visit the Franschhoek Valley, be sure to sample the pétillant wines produced in the region. Only a handful of farms in the area produce quality sparkling wines, and it is recommended that you be on the look-out for the pétillant red Shirazes of the “Lambrusco” style. These are best paired with traditional Cape fare, decadent desserts and fine company.
The best techniques used to produce Cape sparkling wines
The beauty of the pétillant wines produced in the Cape Winelands is that they effortlessly add elegance to any occasion, be it a day-time picnic or an evening soiree. Sparkling wines have long been associated with celebrations and merriment, imbuing these occasions with style and class. However, the cost of authentic champagne has always been inhibiting, and the mass-produced “bubbly” available locally fails to add that special touch to your celebration.
For this reason, a handful of respected wine farms in the Cape Winelands began to produce their own varieties of pétillant wines – sparkling wines that would be accessible, pleasing to the palate, and of a high enough quality to add sophistication to any occasion. Solms-Delta in the Franschhoek Valley produces an especially delightful pétillant Shiraz. Using the “Lambrusco” style of production, the wine estate models its Cape Jazz Shiraz on the famous Italian wine produced in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy, just south of the Alps.
Why is this method so noteworthy? Well, many sparkling wines are produced using methods known to bring on headaches: the transfer method and the Charmat method (also known as the closed tank method) are prime examples of this.
The idea behind the Charmat Method was to create a variety of champagne that was quick and cheap to produce. Via this method, and the more modern transfer method, a second fermentation is brought about in vats, using large amounts of sugar – rather than in the individual bottles, as it is with higher-quality sparkling wines. The excessive addition of sugar is believed to bring on headaches, while these “bulk process” methods also produce inferior wines that quickly lose their fizz.
Purchase pétillant wines from South Africa’s top wine estates
When next you visit the Franschhoek Valley, be sure to sample the sparkling wines bottled by the region’s leading wine farms. Take part in a wine tasting, indulge in a delicious wine farm lunch, or purchase a bottle or two for enjoyment at home. These sparkling wines – especially pétillant red Shirazes – also make superb gifts, and can be stored for special occasions.