Graham Beck The William Cape Blend 2001
Typical expression of a well structured unique South African blend.
Flavors of plum, cinnamon and cigarbox, followed by a lengthy palate.
Food pairings: Spicy Cape Malayian dishes, rich meaty or vegetable casseroles, sliced beef, game biltong or at a traditional South African braai.
In their pursuit of the perfect bubble, Graham Beck consistently raises the bar in terms of quality and distinction and has firmly established themselves as one of the world’s leading sparkling wine brands, devoted to quality and consistency. Since the launch of their maiden Méthode Cap Classique in 1991 these sought after, much lauded sparkling wines have not only been the celebratory toasts of international icons such as Mandela and Obama, but also garnered some of the industry’s most prestigious global accolades.
Situated in the breathtaking Robertson Wine Valley (located a mere 140km from Cape Town in South Africa’s spectacular Western Cape Winelands), Graham Beck focuses on minimal intervention, allowing the authentic essence of the fruit and terroir to shine through. The unique climate of the region, combined with the rich limestone soils, produce wines which have become popular across the globe for their authenticity, versatility and elegance. At their state-of-the-art Cap Classique cellar the team crafts a range of internationally acclaimed Méthode Champenoise style wines, widely regarded as benchmarks in the industry. This ethos, instigated by the late founder and mentor Graham Beck, propelled this family orientated brand to become one of South Africa’s leading and best loved cellars as well as an internationally recognized and lauded wine entity. Over the years Graham Beck has invested an extraordinary amount of effort and time into refining their focus and meticulously fine-tuning the selection of clones and sites, as well as optimising vineyard and cellar practices.
Their prestigious bubbly portfolio demonstrates an unwavering dedication to the creation of bottle fermented sparkling wines which define class, finesse and timelessness and the passion for the job at hand shines through in every bottle, every sip and each tiny bubble.
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.
With hundreds of red grape varieties to choose from, winemakers have the freedom to create a virtually endless assortment of blended wines. In many European regions, strict laws are in place determining the set of varieties that may be used, but in the New World, experimentation is permitted and encouraged. Blending can be utilized to enhance balance or create complexity, lending different layers of flavors and aromas. For example, a variety that creates a fruity and full-bodied wine would do well combined with one that is naturally high in acidity and tannins. Sometimes small amounts of a particular variety are added to boost color or aromatics. Blending can take place before or after fermentation, with the latter, more popular option giving more control to the winemaker over the final qualities of the wine.