Spending New Year’s Eve at home for the first time in 15 years, I was looking to make up for it by finding something special to toast the New Year with. Still in the middle of searching the sites of my most trusted wine merchants for a special bottle of, well, possibly a nice Champagne, I ended up digging out a little gem right in my own cellar.
Honestly, I am still clueless where and when I bought that bottle. Yet it seemed revealing and totally right to pop it open for New Year’s Eve. As in normal times, I would have spent this time of the year in South Africa.
Background: What is a Méthode Cap Classique
Locally simply called MCC, a Méthode Cap Classique refers to South African sparkling wines which are made in the same fashion Champagne is produced. Meaning MCCs are made with the second fermentation taking place in the bottle. Being made in South Africa, however the product is not allowed to be called Champagne. This name is reserved for sparkling wines made exclusively in the Champagne region of France.
The term Méthode Cap Classique (or MCC) exists since the early 1990s whilst the first sparkling wine that was produced in South Africa according to this method dates back to 1968. It was made by Simonsig Wine Estate and released in 1971.
Today there are many wine farms across the Winelands making excellent MCCs, and more are being added to the list each year.
About Pongrácz MCC
I am always keen to learn about the history of a particular dish or drink, and the story behind the prestigious Pongrácz brand is a really amazing one.
Pongrácz MCC was launched in 1990 in memory of Desiderius Pongrácz, a Hungarian aristocrat who after 10 years as a war prisoner in Siberia first returned to Hungary and from there managed to flee the country during the Hungarian revolt. Pongrácz first settled in Namibia before finding his final home in the South African Winelands.
Desiderius Pongrácz clearly needs to be credited as one of the leading heads that helped to turn South African wines into the quality product they are today. In fact, he had a significant impact on the introduction of international grape varieties such as Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir in South Africa. He also lobbied the careful selection of the best vines in the vineyard as opposed to quantity harvesting.
Tragically, Pongrácz died after a tragic road accident at the age of only 61. The MCCs made in his honour are part of Distell Group, an internationally operating producer and marketer of wines, spirits and cider, based in South Africa. It includes, among many others, the well-known brands of J.C. LeRoux (another excellent South African MCC producer), Nederburg, Durbanhill Wines, Plaisir de Merle and Amarula.
Pongrácz Méthode Cape Classique Rosé
A blend of Chardonnay (60%) and Pinot Noir (40%), the Pongrácz Rosé is made according to the traditional way Champagne is produced, which in South Africa is referred to as Méthode Cap Classique.
In the glass, it is a delicate salmon-pink with aromas of strawberry and whiffs of baked bread.
On the palate it is perfectly balanced with clean acidity and juicy blackberry fruit.
Pairing Pongrácz Méthode Cape Classique Rosé with food
Off course, there is no need to pair this fantastic MCC with anything. It is perfect to enjoy on its own, as aperitif or whenever you feel like having a nice glass of bubbles.
Yet it also pairs very well to a range of food such as salads, seafood, grilled chicken, duck confit, pasta, or risotto.
Popping it open on New Year’s Eve, off course it was all nibbles and small bites.