Yesterday the launch of Brut Zero 2005, a new addition to the Graham Beck Méthode Cap Classique range and one of the few non-dosage bubblies in the country (not the first as I originally posted – see comments below). Cellar price: R205 a bottle.
For those unfamiliar with the term, dosage involves the addition of a small portion of sweet liquid at the end of the bottle-fermented sparkling wien production process to lend balance. Typically Cap Classique labelled ‘”Brut” will have around seven grams of sugar per litre added in this way: it doesn’t make the wine taste sweet, but merely offsets the usually very high acidity.
Bubblies without dosage are a fringe category and require that the base wine must already be quite well balanced. The Brut Zero 2005 is from 80% Chardonnay and 20% Pinot Noir and Graham Beck cellarmaster Pieter Ferreira left it on the lees for a full six years to impart extra richness as a counterpoint to the bracing acidity. Residual sugar is required to be under 3g/l and is in fact 2.1g/l, present in the wine on account of being unfermentable. The wine shows good flavour intensity, specifically citrus and attractive yeasty, biscuity notes; it’s really fresh as might be expected while the finish is particularly long and pithy (score: 16/20).
Food match? Le Quartier Français’s Margot Janse paired it with a slightly smoked oyster with cucumber, granadilla and chourizo which was very clever although I think a platter of the molluscs, fresh and unadorned could work quite nicely, too.