Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Rickety Bridge Blanc de Blancs Brut 2009 - Outstanding Double Gold medal - South Africa's Best Vintage Blanc de Blancs 2013

Rickety Bridge, located in Franschhoek walk away with an Outstanding Double Gold medal (average score of over 90 points) as well as having the highest score in the Blanc de Blancs category for their vintage 2009, a 100% Franschhoek Chardonnay, was awarded South Africa’s best vintage Blanc de Blancs for 2013 at Amorim Tsogo Sun Cap Classique Challenge.

Here under and exclusive interview with Wynand Grobler, cellar master of Rickety Bridge, relating his wine making philosophy in crafting a world class traditional method sparkling wine

Tell our readers a little more about your winery and how long you have been making wine and why your chosen location to make wine and in particular MCC, what is special about your site?

I have been at making wine at Rickety Bridge for 6 years now since November 2007 and we have an old school approach to making wine with limited interference in the cellar, we do the hard graft in the vineyards and allow them to show us their full potential in the cellar.

Franschhoek has amazing vineyards and this is exactly why we decided to make this MCC from this perfect site for Chardonnay grapes. The decomposed granite soils give the wine structure and complexity but great finesse and linearity.

Explain us your viticultural approach and philosophy, as we all know, it’s all starts in the dirt to make very good to great wines?

We follow sustainable practices in the vineyards where we don’t use any herbicide or pesticide. This is obviously great for nature in the long run! The vineyards also seem to crop and find that perfect balance by themselves. We find the vines are naturally in balance and more concentrated. We choose our sites and soil types on the wine styles we would like to make and believe this also gives the wines consistency.

Viticulturist are very often the unsung heroes of the South African wine industry and we all know, demanding style such as MCC, needs optimum grape quality, tell us more about your viticulturist?

With great and skilled teams in the vineyards it makes it easy for me to manage and source our vineyards and grapes. As you can gather our approach is very much that the wine is made in the vineyard so viticultural practices are key.

MCC’s will never be Champagne, however the quality are of a very high standards and represents some of the very best value bottle sparkling wine in the world, tell us more about the climate and soil your grapes come from?

As an industry we are still learning but top South African bubbly can rival that of Champagne any day. We have sunny slopes that are cool in the evenings with great soils that lends itself to make world class bubbly.

Do you have any preferences over site specific, i.e Estate / region/district/ward wine of origin over Western Cape  / Coastal Region blends, if so give us more details?

Franschhoek has exploded lately with many of the top wines in SA carrying the Wine of Origin Franschhoek. Here we have the potential to make well-structured elegant wines with identity and character, so I have to say Franschhoek is my regional favourite by a long way.

How long you have been making MCC?

Since 2009

How many styles of MCC’s you produce under your brand?

Two – Blanc de blancs vintage and Brut Rose

Tell us more about your winning MCC and it’s winemaking process as well as the percentage blends if any making the final wine?

We stick to basics and work to keep the wine clean and neutral with secondary aging characters most important. The wine is made from 100% Chardonnay of which half is barrel fermented and aged in old small French oak.  After 6 months the two components are blended and bottled and left to mature on the lees - in this case for longer than 40 months!

What is your view on Reserve wine added prior to dosage, what would be your average percentage, if any use in your house style?

About 10% of the wine is reserve wine that is added prior to bottling and this adds to the fullness and complexity of the wine.

What MCC style are your aiming for?

We aim to have a classy, well integrated, biscuity driven Blanc de blancs that leaves your palate refreshed with length and aftertaste. Although 50% of the wine is barrel fermented and aged we don’t want oaky caramel to be the wines primary flavour profile, freshness must ultimately prevail.

With the new emerging market locally preferring wines with higher residual sugar, what is your philosophy on dosage and where do you draw the line?

Dosage is good as long as it adds to the wine and doesn’t bland or sweet it out. I strive (with all our wines) to find that perfect balance between acidity and sweetness and if that balance is achieved we find it is well received no matter what the residual sugar is.

What are the source / origin of the grape(s) used in the winning wine?


Stylistically, where do you intend taking the wine in the next 5 to 10 years?

We are very happy with the style and will stick to our guns with this wine, working and focusing even harder to get the best grapes out of the vineyards.

How many approximately bottles do you produce per each style?

Between 2000 and 4500btls

Countries exported?

Our MCC is currently only exported to Europe and the UK

Top local on trade customers supporting the wines or where can your MCC be found to be purchased and enjoy?

Currently from the Estate

Your favorite food pairings or recommendation to be enjoyed with your winning MCC?

Nothing, it’s great on its own…..and then of course oysters, pavlova with berries, salmon and creme fraiche

Do you have a special cellar door deal for readers of MCWJ to purchase your MCC over the holiday period?

We can offer readers a 10% off cellar door prices

What is the average selling of your MCC’s, cellar door / retail?  

Blanc de blancs = R170, Brut Rose= R125