Graham Beck Bliss Demi Sec
For those who do not like it dry, the Graham Beck Demi-Sec is a fine excuse for self-indulgence and frivolity. Light yeasty aromas, with hints of butterscotch, honey and praline, this delectable bubbly will stimulate your sweeter senses.
Blend: 39% Chardonnay, 61% Pinot Noir
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
The vineyards are located on four diverse farms in the Western Cape province, enabling the Robertson and Franschoek Cellars to have access to grape varietals grown in the climactic conditions and soils to which they are best suited. Marco Ventrella, Graham Beck's viticulturist, oversees the 4 farms. However, each farm is individually tended by its respective vineyard manager.
An extensive renewal program has resukted in premier red and white varietals on all of the farms. Great care has been taken to match the obliging micro-climates and rich variety of soils with the most suitable varietal. This ensures that the winemakers have access to optimum quality fruit from which to make their specific wines.
With an important wine renaissance in full swing, impressive red and white bargains abound in South Africa. The country has a particularly long and rich history with winemaking, especially considering its status as part of the “New World.” In the mid-17th century, the lusciously sweet dessert wines of Constantia were highly prized by the European aristocracy. Since then, the South African wine industry has experienced some setbacks due to the phylloxera infestation of the late 1800s and political difficulties throughout the following century.
Today, however, South Africa is increasingly responsible for high-demand, high-quality wines—a blessing to put the country back on the international wine map. Wine production is mainly situated around Cape Town, where the climate is generally warm to hot. But the Benguela Current from Antarctica provides brisk ocean breezes necessary for steady ripening of grapes. Similarly, cooler, high-elevation vineyard sites throughout South Africa offer similar, favorable growing conditions.
South Africa’s wine zones are divided into region, then smaller districts and finally wards, but the country’s wine styles are differentiated more by grape variety than by region. Pinotage, a cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsault, is the country’s “signature” grape, responsible for red-fruit-driven, spicy, earthy reds. When Pinotage is blended with other red varieties, like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah or Pinot Noir (all commonly vinified alone as well), it is often labeled as a “Cape Blend.” Chenin Blanc (locally known as “Steen”) dominates white wine production, with Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc following close behind.
A term typically reserved for Champagne and Sparkling Wines, non-vintage or simply “NV” on a label indicates a blend of finished wines from different vintages (years of harvest). To make non-vintage Champagne, typically the current year’s harvest (in other words, the current vintage) forms the base of the blend. Finished wines from previous years, called “vins de reserve” are blended in at approximately 10-50% of the total volume in order to achieve the flavor, complexity, body and acidity for the desired house style. A tiny proportion of Champagnes are made from a single vintage.
There are also some very large production still wines that may not claim one particular vintage. This would be at the discretion of the winemaker’s goals for character of the final wine.