So apart from some of South Africa’s best MCCs, there was also French champagne to taste (at a price). It’s always nice to taste through as it isn’t everyday you get the opportunity. There is a well deserved hype internationally around Champagne. But. A massive ‘but’ here; There was only one I tasted ~ BILLECART-SALMON that I really enjoyed. But the Veuve, Nicolas Feuillatte etc really didn’t blow me away. For the price you pay I would rather buy three bottles of MCC. I suppose it’s a matter of tasting out of your comfort zone; you always prefer your mum’s lasagne to anyone else’s and that’s honestly how I feel about South African MCC and wine in general. Local really is lekker, the quality v value scale is off the chart.
So what is the difference between Champagne & MCC?
First & foremost the origin. Champagne has to come from a region in France called Champagne. MCC is South Africa’s version of has to be made in… you guessed it South Africa.
Method ~ Sparkling wine might just be the most technical of all wines in the world–Both Champagne & MCC are made in exactly the same way. The ‘traditional’ method; the most appreciated method for sparkling wine production in terms of quality, and at the same time it is also the most costly in terms of production. The most important facet of the traditional method is that the transformation from a still to a sparkling wine occurs naturally & entirely inside the bottle. The reason most sparkling wine is so complex is because of the need for two fermentations; one to make wine and the other to make bubbles.
Varietals ~ Primarily, the grapes Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier, & Chardonnay are used in the production of almost all Champagne, but a tiny amount of pinot blanc, pinot gris, arbane, and petit meslier are vinified as well. All grapes must be sourced from the region.
MCC is less strict about varietals used. We do however lean towards those traditionally used in Champagne (Chardonnay & Pinot Noir.)
Lees contact ~ in Champagne they are restricted to a minimum of 18 month lees contact whereas South Africa it changes between 9 & 12 months. This adds extra depth, complexity to the bubbles.