Celebrating 50 Years Of Cap Classiques!

Bubbly, bubbles, Champagne, Méthode Cap Classique, or as we like to call it, Cap Classique, originated in the French province of Champagne where they referred to it as Méthode Champenoise. 

Names aside, the important fact is that careful fermentation in the bottle itself is the key to those delicate strings of tiny bubbles (called a mousse). With the Cap Classique style of wine celebrating 50 years of creation in South Africa, we’re popping corks and celebrating each tiny bubble!

Sabrage-ASabrage-Achim von Arnimchim von Arnim

Achim von Arnim’s role in South African Cap Classique

Our founder, Achim von Arnim, spent many years in the vineyards of France and Germany while studying viticulture in Geisenheim. On his return, he had a vision to create a South African Cap Classique that contended with the prestigious Champagne houses of France.

Kaapse Vonkel by Simonsig was the first winery to release a Cap Classique style wine 50 years ago, and Boschendal was the first winery to benefit from Achim von Arnim’s passion and drive for quality. He arranged the planting of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, for the specific creation of Cap Classique, and championed the exclusive use of these varietals within the South African wine industry to stand up to the quality experienced in France. It was this vision that led to the first South African Cap Classique to focus both on the Champagne region’s style and traditional varietals.

During this time, Achim’s dream was born to carve a personal legacy within the wine industry by creating a cellar that specialised in the wine styles of Champagne and Burgundy of France, based on the integrated philosophy: sun, soil, vine, man.

The birth of Haute Cabrière & the launching of the Pierre Jourdan Cap Classique

Achim chose the land of Haute Cabrière based on what he found stuck to the soles of his shoes. While visiting possible sites, the Haute Cabrière soils left his Levi boots covered in thick clay—something he was familiar with during his time in the Burgundy region of France where he had worn the exact same shoes in the vineyards. Soils such as these support ancient vines in France, and Achim appreciated this similar soil thousands of miles away in Franschhoek. 

The first wine to leave the Haute Cabrière cellar in 1986 was a Cap Classique. In true French tradition, a Cap Classique is named after the original landowner. More than 300 years ago, the land of Haute Cabrière belonged to a French Huguenot named Pierre Jourdan. Pierre Jourdan also happened to have planted vineyards. Steeped in history, passion and a desire to create a quality, the Pierre Jourdan range of Cap Classique wines was born, starting with the Pierre Jourdan Brut. From here, the range has come to include the Belle Rose, Blanc de Blancs and most recently, the Belle Nectar Demi-Sec. Takuan von Arnim, Cellar Master, continues to build upon the legacy of Pierre Jourdan and Achim von Arnim with each vintage, upholding the vision for a family-owned winery in Franschhoek dedicated to quality wines inspired by the regions of Burgundy and Champagne and the varietals of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. 

Read More