Did you know that South Africa produces Champagne? Well, we produce bubbly using the same method that the French use to produce Champagne. While we can’t call it Champagne (because that name has a copyright) we are essentially producing it right here. Locally, it’s called MCC or Methode Cap Classique.
The difference between MCC and “sparkling wine” is a bottle fermentation process that gives MCC a natural sparkle. Sparkling wine has carbon dioxide added to it later in the process. Most often, local MCC is of much higher quality than any affordable bottle of French Champagne you’ll be able to find here in SA. So I always tell people – buy local!
The Franschhoek MCC Route is a wonderful way to taste some of South Africa’s top bubbles. I recently spent the day sipping my way through the route, stopping at Babylonstoren, Plaisir de Merle, Boschendal and Alleé Bleue. This summer, if you’re going to be around the Cape, I suggest you round up a couple of friends, book a driver for the day and enjoy the sunshine and the magic of bubbles.
This famous farm is known for glorious views, dreamy gardens, beautiful food and stunning wines. Their new tasting room is set within the vines, and offers a selection of platters (meat,veggie, fish and cheese), which you can enjoy while you taste their wines. Fruit and vegetables are grown on the farm and the platters are beautifully presented. Platters for two range from R150 – R200 and include a glass of wine or a tasting.
If you’re hungry for more, their restaurants Greenhouse and Babel are fantastic, but you’ll have to book well in advance. Don’t miss out on a walk through the garden – different all year round according to the seasons, and always beautiful.
Every day this summer, from 10am to 6pm
Closed on Christmas Day
+27 (0)21 863 3852
Plaisir de Merle
The gardens at this farm are worth spending some time in, so make sure you walk around and take it all in. Their tasting room offers cellar tours (the cellar is surrounded by a moat!) and cheese platters, so you could easily spend a couple of hours here.
Weekday Tastings: 09am to 6pm all year round
Saturday, Public Holidays and Sundays: 10am to 6pm all year round
Tour times: Prior booking essential
Closed on Christmas Day, New Year’s Day & Good Friday
+27 (0)21 874 1071
It was my first time visiting this gorgeous farm and I was blown away! I literally have not stopped thinking about it – can’t wait to go back! There is loads to see and do, from wine tasting to vineyard tours, cellar tours, horse and carriage rides, picnics and more.
Their MCC and chocolate pairing is a must at just R75 per person! We had lunch in the Werf Restaurant, where we feasted on fresh veggies from their lush garden, salt roasted trout and beautiful wines.
This is a must-visit farm, so plan to spend a lot of time here. I especially enjoyed their stunning MCC wines, which I would love to sip under the trees all day. It’s going to be a jam-packed summer on the farm, so make sure to book well in advance so you don’t miss out.
Every day from 10am to 4:30pm
+27 (0) 21 870 4210/11
The Alleé Bleue Brut is a blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, and well worth visiting for. Flavours of toasted nuts, brioche, candyfloss and citrus make for a classic MCC that pairs well with summer, desserts and light dishes in the sunshine. This is the perfect place to end your day on the Franschhoek MCC Route.
Monday – Friday: 9am to 5pm
Saturday: 10am to 5pm
Sunday & Public Holidays: 10am t0 4pm
+27 (0)21 874 1021
Franschhoek Cap Classique and Champagne Festival
An even better opportunity to sip your way through South Africa’s MCC catalogue is at the Franschhoek Cap Classique and Champagne Festival ‘The ‘Magic of Bubbles’, happening on the 3rd and 4th of December.
This is one of my favourite wine festivals of the year. It’s a full day of sunshine, bubbly, a beautiful venue and a great vibe. There are loads of amazing wines to try, great food offerings and honestly just one of the best set-ups of any wine festival on the calendar.
Tickets cost R350 per person and include access to the festival, which is open daily between 12pm and 5pm, and a complimentary tasting glass and tasting coupons. Additional vouchers can be purchased on the day. Children under 18 years will be allowed free entry to the festival.
Book directly through www.webtickets.co.za, but hurry, as tickets are limited. Use your Mastercard payment card to pay and receive a 10 percent discount on your ticket purchase, as well as a 10 percent discount on all purchases made at the festival.