Pongrácz is made strictly according to the dictates of the Méthode Cap Classique, and is composed entirely of two noble grape varieties, Pinot Noir (60%) and Chardonnay (40%) Chardonnay imparts a clean flintiness while Pinot Noir gives body and taste. All the best sparkling wines in the world including the most famous French Champagnes are made according to this method: Méthode Champagnoise.
Pongrácz is named in honour of the Hungarian Desiderius Pongrácz, a prisoner of the Red Army. He escaped to Austria in 1956 and subsequently immigrated to South Africa. His was the gift of the "third" eye - a genius for seeing the new in the familiar, finding the unexpected in the traditional. His wisdom on wine and cultivars revitalised viticulture at the Cape.
What is MCC? Pongrácz grapes are harvested by hand. Once pressed, the clear grape juice receives no further skin contact. After settling, the clear juice is pumped into steel tanks for cold fermentation. When the wine has attained the exact development required, a specially selected yeast culture is introduced and the wine is subjected to controlled second fermentation in the bottle. Fermentation and contact with the yeast and yeast-sediment in the sealed bottles could, within judgment of the cellar master, last anything up to two years, or even longer. Through this process, amongst many other elegant characteristics, the essential yeasty flavour is imparted on to the product.
Now follows the process of remuage whereby the bottles are slanted, neck downwards, in special racks to allow the lees-sediment to collect in the necks of the bottles. This process is facilitated by a deft regular swivel of the inclined bottles which are at the same time also gradually moved into completely up-ended position.
When all the sediment has collected in the necks of the bottles the process of dégorgement commences whereby the necks are deep-frozen and the solid sediment ejected. Rapid recorking is followed by an extended period of bottle maturation, which is the final stage in the classic style of the Méthode Cap Classique.
The result: a spectacular explosion of pinpoint bubbles. The characteristic biscuit and yeastiness on the nose is followed by the rich complex full fruit giving it finesse and a lingering finish. It is a light straw colour with a greenish tint; it has good mousse and persistent bead.
Consistent Veritas (Major South African Awards) award winner and past winner of the International Wine Challenge Sparkling Wine of the Year.
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|John Platter Ratings||4 stars|
|Winery / Producer||Pongracz|
|Grape Variety||White Blend|
|Bottle Size||Bottle 75cl|
|Residual Sugar||11.0 g/l|