About Higgo Jacobs
A law graduate from Stellenbosch, Higgo was lured into the wine industry after his studies, and what was meant to be a sabbatical ended up as a way of life.
Certified with the Court of Master Sommeliers, Higgo consults to various establishments; judges on wine competitions and publications locally and abroad, and tries his hand occasionally at writing.
Bottle fermented sparkling wines in the classical method, or Methode Cap Classique (MCC as it is known here in South Africa) is enjoying a revived market in South Africa, seeing the fastest growth in any wine category at the moment.
It comes as no surprise. It simply is the most frivolous and romantic beverage in the world, and we make them as tasty as they come. Here follows my current favourite producers:
Boschendal is a wine farm worth planning a trip around. Dating back to 1685, and located in the centre of the illustrious Franschhoek and Stellenbosch vineyard region, Boschendal is one of the oldest farms in South Africa. Given their exceptional winemaking heritage of almost 300 years, the Boschendal cellar masters meticulously balance rustic tradition and modern innovation to produce fine wines and Méthode Cap Classique sparkling wines.
Satisfy your appetite with some farm fresh flavourful and nourishing farm-to-table food: Chef Christiaan Campbell, will conjure up for you a mouth-watering feast of dishes that shift with the seasons. With a firm belief in the natural process of winemaking and farming, Boschendal can offer an experience that can connect you with nature as well as please the palette.
Bramon, Plettenberg Bay
Family-owned and run, the Boutique Wine Estate is actually named after Peter and Caroline Thorpe’s children, Bram and Manon. What better way to spend an afternoon – tasting their wines and cheeses, fresh oysters, garden salads, mezze platters and homemade bread?
Set in Plettenberg Bay, with views of the Tsitsikamma Mountains and Elephant Sanctuary, Bramon Wine Estate is not only known for being a pioneer in this region – as it is the first wine estate this far east of the Western Cape ; but it is although the first and only producer of a superior Sauvignon Blanc ‘cap classique’ sparkling wine -The Crags.
Domaine des Dieux, Hemel & Aarde Valley
Nestled in the foothills of the highest mountain peak in the Hemel-en-Aarde Ridge, this winery has a selection that’s unmatched elsewhere. Domaine des Dieux – Place of the Gods – began after many visits to Burgundy, with Pinot noir and Chardonnay, amongst other cultivars that were carefully chosen & matched to terroir. Over the past decade, they have established a boutique cellar that produces a small range of award winning, premium quality wines.
In 2002 a film about Napoleon’s last years on St Helena, called Monsieur N, was filmed on their wine farm. Their Josephine Pinot Noir gives tribute to the filming of this movie as Josephine was the first wife of Napoleon. In years to come, they will release a Bonaparte Pinot Noir.
Genevieve, Bot River
France’s exuberant ‘city of light’ inspired this wine label, named ‘Genevieve’ for the patron saint of Paris. The search for the perfect terroir and quality grapes led Melissa to Bot River, where she discovered a beautiful pocket of Chardonnay. Founder of one of the newer estates, Melissa was determined to make a sparkling wine of unsurpassed quality. In 2009 she had her first harvest and the cellar was built to create some of the most elegant Méthode Cap Classique. Small and precious: this is precisely what it is – a small farm, specializing in the production of sparkling chardonnay wine.
Graham Beck, Robertson
No trip to the Robertson area is complete without a visit to Graham Beck’s impressive cellar.
Graham Beck Wines, one of the most well-known South African wineries, is still a family run business. The third generation is already working hard at the estate to ensure that the family tradition is continued.
Graham Beck’s Robertson estate, Madeba, is situated in the breathtaking Breede River Valley bordering the semi-arid Little Karoo region. The unique dry, cool climate of the Robertson region combined with the rich limestone soils produce one of the finest wines of South Africa. Their Cap Classique cellar delivers Méthode Champenoise style wines worthy of their reputation. So good are the wines, in fact, that in 1994 Nelson Mandela enjoyed the Graham Beck Brut for his inauguration. Exactly 14 years later Barack Obama celebrated his presidential win with Graham Beck Brut!
Huis van Chevallerie, Swartland
Huis van Chevallerie, situated in the picturesque foothills of the Paardeberg Mountain in the Swartland, is a family owned Farm. Christa von La Chevallerie will greet you personally and will let you taste her meticulously handcrafted Sparkling wines from 40-year-old low yielding bush vines…. You’ll always ask for more….
Le Lude, Franschhoek
Le Lude’s owner, Ferda Barrow, named the Franschhoek estate after the historic French castle, “Château Le Lude” because of its beautiful rose gardens. The interior of Le Lude Tasting room designed by Nic and Ferda’s daughter Olga Barrow is styled after the French castle with its gold trimmings, crystal chandeliers, elegant textiles, contemporary French appeal and fragrant freshly cut roses.
Being one of the newer estates in Franschhoek, the Estate was bought in 2009 and was originally an overgrown plum orchard. In 2012 they had their first harvest and the cellar was built just in time to process the grapes and make the delicious on offer today. Le Lude became the first and only South African winery to use the Agrafe method in its sparkling wines, implying that during the time under bottle-fermentation a natural cork was used to seal the bottle instead of the more widely-used steel crown-cap, the result of this method has become the talk of the town and bringing many people to their door. Le Lude, for such a young estate, has managed to put themselves on the map for producing high-quality Cap Classique.
Enjoy Le Ludes crème dela crème MCC and Canape pairing while sitting in their sun room with the lullaby of French music flowing in the background. The pairing was created by Nic’s chef daughter Nicolene Barrow and is unique as every canape selection is made to pair with both MCC’s on offer giving you lots of room to be playful and explore.
Longridge Wine Estate, is situated in the Stellenbosch region on the slopes of the Helderberg mountain range. While you are sitting on the patio, you can enjoy the panoramic views of False Bay and Table Mountain while enjoying their wines and elegant Méthode Cap Classique.
At Longride Wine Estate, Biodynamic and organic farming practises are implemented. They strive to produce excellent quality wines while minimising the impact we have on the environment. Many of the garden activities can be seen from the veranda while you enjoy a glass of their superb wines.
In the middle of winter, when the vines have shed the last of their amber leaves and roots are drawing their strength for summer; when the grey-green veld sparkles after the rain and the tallest peaks of the Riviersonderend mountains are dusted in snow, it is the striking silhouette of the Karoo Acacia, with its profusion of dazzling white thorns, that commands attention. It is this image of one of the Karoo’s most prolific thorn trees that inspired the name Silverthorn Wines. Silverthorn has become synonymous with Afropean synergy, combining old world European heritage and knowledge; and our contemporary African environment and culture.
Silverthorn Farm has the perfect terroir for the production of exceptional sparkling wines, that’s why they have dedicated their expertise solely to the production of this elegant style of wine.
Steenberg, literally “Mountain of Stone”, is named for the nearby mountain range. The Cape’s first farm, established in 1682, this is one of the Constantia wineries that you must visit during your travels. Full of charm and rich in heritage this winery can offer more than just amazing Méthode Cap Classique, it’s an experience in and of itself. The manor house and other buildings on the farm have also been declared a national monument so there is much heritage to explore.