VIVE LA FRANCE?
French champagne has long been considered the gold standard for sparkling wines, and it’s sold at a considerable premium in South Africa. But is it worth the spend?
‘Champagne has a taste and quality like no other!’ enthuses Roland Peens, Director of winecellar.co.za and one of South Africa’s leading wine judges. ‘This sparkling wine – which comes from the Champagne region of France – is arguably the most successful beverage in the world. Around 300 million bottles are produced annually, at an average price that far exceeds that of any other wine region. Champagne combines prestige, quality and celebration.’
While South Africa remains a small market for traditional dry champagnes, it’s a large and growing market for off-dry versions, dominated by Moët & Chandon and Veuve Clicquot, Peens adds. Grand Marque houses, including Krug and Dom Pérignon, remain popular, with good demand among local wine lovers for the smaller houses of Drappier and Jacquesson.
Beyond France? Look to our local Méthode Cap Classique (MCC), says Peens. ‘Our style is very similar to that of the Champagne region and the quality is improving. There are excellent versions from other countries, but they’re not widely available in South Africa, and frankly wouldn’t offer anywhere near the value of good MCC.’