Anthonij Rupert Wines received the Trophy for Méthode Cap Classique of the Year for their L`Ormarins Blanc de Blanc 2013 at the 2020 SA Women’s Wine & Spirit Awards

The fifth SA Women’s Wine & Spirit Awards took place much later than originally anticipated. Michelle Grimbeek, the convenor of judges and her team welcomed the all-women panel on the morning of 19 November at the Nietvoorbij campus in Stellenbosch. A short briefing followed the necessary photo sessions, and then the judges were hard at work.

In partnering with Spiegelau, SA Women’s Wine and Spirit Awards could assure that panellists taste from truly superior stemware. The tasting was done using the Spiegelau Expert Tasting glasses, designed and made for exactly this purpose.

The aim of the annual competition is to find worthy wines, spirits and liqueurs judged by all-female panels, and to award the best products entered.

SA Women’s Wine & Spirit Awards is the only competition solely judged by women to make recommendations on what to buy and is becoming increasingly important as a marketing tool.

Méthode Cap Classique of the Year

The Cap Classique Producers Association is more than 80 members strong, while another 150 or so wineries also produce Méthode Cap Classique. Currently the production of Méthode Cap Classique is nearly doubling every five years, which underscores the importance of this category. One fifth of South Africa’s yearly production of nearly 8 million bottles are exported.

The Méthode Cap Classique of the Year are awarded by the best scoring Méthode Cap Classique in the SA Women’s Wine & Spirit Awards. SA Women’s Wine & Spirit Awards is the only competition solely judged by women to make recommendations on what to buy and is becoming increasingly important as a marketing tool.

Our congratulations go to Anthonij Rupert Wines and Méthode Cap Classique Winemaker Zanie Viljoen.

Q: Where did you grow up, and what made you go into winemaking?

A: I was born in Upington and raised in Mpumalanga. Fond family vacations to the Cape Winelands, as a child led to me pursuing it not only as a passion but also a career.

Q: Where did you study and where did you work before Anthonij Rupert Wines?

A: I completed my tertiary education in Viticulture and Oenology at Elsenburg College.

After completing my first harvest at Delheim Wine Estate, I was delighted to be offered a position at Anthonij Rupert Wines. I had the opportunity to do an international harvest at Domaine des Martinelles in France’s Rhone Valley in 2009.

Q: Who played a vital role for you to become a well-rounded winemaker and why?

A: I am continuously inspired by all the women in the wine industry who juggle winemaking with their roles as wives and mothers. 

Q: What makes the L`Ormarins Blanc de Blanc 2013 special?

A: Everything in life that takes time to produce or create is always worth the wait. The same principle applies for the L’Ormarins Blanc de Blanc 2013. The extended time on the lees adds depth and structure to this already well-balanced wine. Spending up to 4 years on the lees takes it from wonderful to extraordinary.

Q: What grapes do you use and what is special about these vineyards?

A: Our Blanc de Blanc is made from 100% Chardonnay.  These vines are planted in site-specific areas. Most of the grapes are from our Altima farm where vines are planted between 600 to 880m above sea level. These high-altitude vines, with high natural acid and slower ripening periods, are extremely special to work with.

Q: What is the most important thing to keep in mind when making Méthode Cap Classique?

A: You are working with a product that goes through various stages and processes,

you should always be thinking two steps ahead, remain focused on quality with every decision and anticipating all possible outcomes.  

Q: What cellar practices do you use that brings out the best in your Méthode Cap Classique?

A: A well-seasoned team that works together seamlessly. With every individual understanding their role in ensuring quality. Standard cellar practices are more than enough to ensure the best in the wine is brought forth.

Q: What do you aim for when making the base wine?

A: Freshness and ensuring that the properties of the grape in its natural form will be taken forward into the second fermentation and the final product.

Q: What is your fermentation regime (Temperature, yeast nutrition etc.)?

A: Second Fermentation temperatures should be kept as low as possible, keeping it between 12 to 14⁰C. A neutral yeast is used to ensure the grape’s natural characteristics are preserved. 

With base wine fermentation, a small percentage is fermented in oak barrels to add additional complexity to the wine. 

Q: What is the secret in adding dosage?

A: To find “the sweet spot” where everything comes together and in balance.

Q: What cellar technique is the most important when it comes to making Méthode Cap Classique?

A: Blending is ultimately the most important step in ensuring harmony between the components and ensuring the best possible quality, vintage after vintage.

Judging during the 2020 tasting

The 2020 team that made it all possible.
The judges on the wine panel were Lisa du Toit, Wanda Cronje CWM, Tanja Beutler, Erika van Zyl, Esme Groenewald and Nadia Hefer. The judges on the spirit and liqueur panel were Dr Caroline Snyman CWM, Manzi Sishi and Marené de Beer.
We want to thank our partners in making this event possible:

Details about the 2021 SA Women’s Wine & Spirit Awards will be announced in the last week of January 2021.

For enquiries, visit the website at https://www.sawwa.co.za/, or email Sanet at general@sawwa.co.za.