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MCC Making

 

Champagne is only produced from grapes grown in the Champagne region of France, while Méthode Cap Classique (or MCC) is the South African sparkling wine which is made in the traditional Champagne style. The term “Méthode Cap Classique” has been given in the beginning of the 1990s.

 

 

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 Making MCC

  

· Harvest: the grapes used in the Méthode Cap Classique are picked early, in order to ensure that the levels of sugar are low. 

· Pressing: the juice is quickly pressed. This is to ensure that the white wine will have a clear color.

 
· First Fermentation: grapes are allowed to ferment in the same way as a still wine, producing alcohol and getting rid of carbon dioxide. This first stage creates a wine which will then be the basis for the sparkling wine.

 

Then, the Méthode Cap Classique process can begin. The method of making sparkling wine in South Africa follows the Champagne method. So the next stage is to pour the wine into bottles. 

 

· Second Fermentation: once the wine is in the bottle, a small amount of yeast and some sugar are added to the mix. The wine is then capped (hence the term “Méthode cap Classique”). Once the yeast is sealed into the wine with the sugar, the second fermentation process begins. The bottle is placed horizontally in a wine cellar. This fermentation is a non-alcoholic fermentation.

 

· Riddling: bottles are placed upon racks which hold the neck of the bottle further down that the bottom. The bottles are turned regularly, and then raised slightly, so that after a fortnight the wine is upside-down, and the lees are lodged in the neck.

  

· Disgorging: once the lees is in the neck, the wine-maker then has to remove it. This is done by taking off the original cap, and easing out the yeast.


· Dosaging and corking: sugar is added to the bottle, and a cork is placed into the bottle. This keeps the sparkle in the wine.

 

The Méthode Cap Classique is the most common type of sparkling wine production in South Africa.


 

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MCC Grapes

 

At Chabivin, we use three types of vines to make our MCC: Chardonnay, Semillon and Pinot Noir.

 

· Chardonnay is a white grape. It has a high acidity and the wines produced using it have a very long life. In Champagne; where it is tended with expert care and reverence, we consider it a king of grapes, and it charges a high premium.

 

· Semillon is a white grape. The acidity is very high so we have to keep it on the lees for 6 years to make it well rounded.

 

· Pinot Noir is a black grape. It is not as long lived as Chardonnay but can impart far more complex flavors.