South Africa is one of the few countries outside of Europe to have adopted a unified, nationwide branding for its sparkling wine. Methode Cap Classique (MCC) refers to Traditional Method Sparkling Wines produced from any grapes grown across the country, although the best producers focus on Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and occasionally Chenin Blanc. The wineries of the Western Cape did have a considerable head start over most non-European sparkling wine regions, though, in having developed a taste for bubbles dating back to the first half of the 20th Century. Most of these, however, were cheap tank-method sparklers.
South Africa is as diverse as any European country in terms of the range of climates and sites planted to vineyard, although the particularities of growing grapes for top quality sparkling wine have only been put into focus relatively over the last 30 years or so. As with any wine region, simply diverting or converting successful still wine vineyards is likely to lead to over-ripe or heavy styles. Although many of the most established producers have their routes in Stellenbosch and Franschoek, the search for freshness, acidity across the Cape as a whole is bound to fuel further refinement in the source material for MCC.
Exports are patchy for now, although producers such as Graham Beck have shown the potential of South Africa to become established in overseas markets with wines of international standing at attractive prices. Production is in the region of 10 million bottles per year as of 2020.
Five Internationally-available producers to watch out for
Graham Beck, Villiera, La Lude, Klein Constantia, Simonsig