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MICHAEL GREEN’S WINE NOTES #163 (article first published : 2006-11-23)

When the wine is sparkling the visual effect is even greater, hence the widespread use of the term pink champagne to signify a special kind of glamour and ebullience.

Because of international agreements we cannot use the word champagne to describe South African sparkling wines made by the champagne method – the winemakers of Champagne in France get very edgy about this --- and we have to call them Methode Cap Classique or simply Cap Classique.

Because of international agreements we cannot use the word champagne to describe South African sparkling wines made by the champagne method – the winemakers of Champagne in France get very edgy about this --- and we have to call them Methode Cap Classique or simply Cap Classique.

These three leaders in this field for a long time is the Krone family of Twee Jonge Gezellen, two young gazelles, a farm in the Tulbagh area which they have owned for nearly three hundred years. Their showpiece has been Krone Borealis Cap Classique, made from the traditional 50/50 blend of pinot noir and chardonnay grapes and judged by many experts to be very close to high quality champagnes from France.

The House of Krone, as the sparkling wine cellar at the farm is named, has now released a bubbly aimed at joining the worldwide trend to pinks. It is Krone Rose Cuvee Brut 2000, made in the traditional way from the traditional grapes. It has a lovely delicate salmon pink colour, a fine, long-lasting mousse (the bubbles), and subtle flavours of blackcurrant and fresh bread. And it has an exceptionally elegant label.

Nicky Krone, owner and cellarmaster, pioneered night harvesting of grapes in South Africa, to retain freshness and flavour, and built the first underground Cap Classique cellar, for natural cooling. He says his sparkling wines are hand-crafted, an appropriate description because manual labour is used wherever possible.

All this painstaking care has produced an outstanding Rose Brut which retails at about R100 a bottle, not cheap but good value, considering the quality.

The more familiar white sparkling wine is now named Krone Borealis Cuvee Brut. It has been a big seller for many years, which is not surprising. It retails at about R60, a competitive price for a wine of this standard.

The name, incidentally, is derived from the Corona Borealis, the constellation formed, according to Greek mythology, when Bacchus, the god of wine, threw his crown (corona) into the heavens. Krone also means crown. – Michael Green




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