The wine recommendation:
2015 “Filia” Chenin Blanc Cap Classique Brut Nature, Huis van Chevallerie, Swartland, South Africa
Jo Wessels’ passion for wine was born, like Wessels himself, in South Africa. His father is an enthusiastic collector of fine classic Cape wines, and his sister studied winemaking in Stellenbosch. After working in the wine industry in South Africa and gaining initial experience in sommellerie, Wessels moved to Germany to study International Wine Business at der Hochschule Geisenheim University and pursue further avenues in the gastronomy sector. Two outstanding milestones along his path were the restaurants ENTE in Wiesbaden and OPUS V in Mannheim.
He is now looking forward to the opportunity to represent South Africa in the ”ASI Best Sommelier of the World” competition, to be held this year in Paris.
Christa from La Chevallerie exudes warmth and amiability, capturing the essence of the South African spirit; hospitality is deep within her DNA. Christa grew up in Swartland. After matriculation, she spent a gap year in Germany and fell in love with German wines. She decided to study at Geisenheim and discovered her flair for sparkling wine production. After notching up experience by working for various leading names in the business, Christa began to produce wine in 2011 under her own label of “Huis van Chevallerie” with a focus on sparkling wines. She is convinced that her wines are at their best when enjoyed in the company of friends on a porch, patio, or - as it’s known in Afrikaans––stoep.
Cap Classique is the designation for premium sparkling wine produced in South Africa using traditional methods. In contrast to many other protected sparkling wine designations, Cap Classique is noted for its incredible freedom and diversity of styles. Sparkling wine was first produced in South Africa in 1971 and has since gone from strength to strength, attracting swelling ranks of exciting winegrowers. Approved grape varietals take in Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, but also a whole host more. The diversity of the wine regions and winegrowing styles involved infuse the category with dynamism and vitality.
The Chenin Blanc grapes for the Filia Cap Classique are sourced from a single estate of dry-farmed (non-irrigated) bush vines in Swartland. Planted all the way back in 1976, these old vines communicate a sense of place and strength in this rugged, arid region.
Reminiscent of Christa herself, who has an impressive presence and resilience as a Swartland native.
After the spontaneous fermentation of the base wine, the Filia Cap Classique was stored on the lees for 30 months.
When production launched in 2011, it involved just a few hundred liters. Today, Christa’s wines are still only available in small quantities despite her burgeoning portfolio. These are truly authentic wines that capture the essence of craftsmanship and skill. They are named Filia, the Latin for “daughter,” to express the respect-based relationship between the family’s passion for the land, the old vines, and the farming heritage.
The wine shimmers in golden fall hues, with vivid and lively perlage. Aromas of cut apple, salt, lemon zest, and bread crust leap out of the glass. This Brut Nature has a captivating clarity and a refreshing finish that offers an irresistible invitation to take another sip.
Spiegelau’s Novo White Wine Glass is the ideal choice for premium sparkling wines. The narrow base prolongs the perlage, while the generous goblet is spacious enough for the aromas to unfold to the full in all their richness.
A suggested accompaniment is a dessert tarte flambée with sliced apple, cinnamon, and crème fraiche - not too sweet, to ensure it complements the Cap Classique’s dry elegance. The aromas of the wine mirror the apples and spices as well as the savory note of the pastry. And if you follow Christa’s recommendation and serve this Cap Classique on the stoep with friends, your enjoyment will be complete.