Award-winning winery L’Ormarins produces some of our country’s finest bottle-fermented sparkling wines made according to the traditional Méthode Champenoise (the same way Champagne is made), by which a secondary fermentation takes place inside the bottle. They are dedicated to giving Cape expression to Old World wine techniques and by doing so, pioneered a whole new category within Cape wine. With the L’Ormarins Private Cuvée 2014 at the pinnacle of their range, their wines are perfect for celebrating life’s most memorable moments.
Méthode Cap Classique (MCC) sparkling wines appeared in South Africa about 50 years ago, when the country’s first MCC wine was released in 1971. It was sold for R3, making it the most expensive local wine available at the time. Now it has become one of the fastest-growing categories of wine in the country. When the Cap Classique Producers Association (CCPA) was established in 1992 by a group of producers sharing a passion for bottle-fermented sparkling wines made according to the traditional method (Méthode Champenoise), there were only a handful of local producers – today, there are more than 300.
The discovery of the late Anthonij Rupert’s packing notes and mock-ups was the start of realising his dream to produce the Cap Classique range on L’Ormarins estate. The L’Ormarins Private Cuvée 2014 is envisioned as the pinnacle of the range. An ode to Rupert’s pioneering spirit, forged with dedication and produced according to the traditional method, this exceptional wine has been a project for eight years in the making. Handcrafted to perfection, it embodies understated elegance, sophistication and beauty. The exquisite bottle showcases the craftsmanship of internationally acclaimed designer and artist Mark Eisen.
Produced from pristine Chardonnay and Pinot Noir vineyards and hailing from extraordinary cool-climate vineyards on Altima estate, the L’Ormarins Private Cuvée is the perfect expression of freshness, purity and complexity, akin to the finest internationally produced Champagne-style wines. It is crafted exclusively from the Tête du Cuvée (the finest quality juice from the first ultra-gentle whole bunch pressing) to represent the purest expression of L’Ormarins in a single vintage. This exceptional wine is also matured for an extraordinary 72 months on the lees, disgorged and complemented by a further six months under cork before its grand release.
As you take your first sip, your palate is met with tangy and refreshing flavours of lemon and marmalade. The same toasty sourdough notes evident on the nose are further enhanced by a fantail of flavours. A complex and well-defined Cap Classique, with nothing out of place – just sumptuous and elegant. The L’Ormarins Private Cuvée is a vibrant and refined wine with the timeless power to record and celebrate life’s most precious moments.
We talked to winemaker Zanie Viljoen:
Tell us the story behind L’Ormarins?
Anthonij Rupert Wyne was founded on the farm L’Ormarins in Franschhoek, which has been owned by the Rupert family for over 50 years. The present owner, Johann Rupert, constructed state-of-the-art winemaking facilities and invested in a portfolio of exceptional viticultural sites, catapulting the farm to a prestigious wine estate and the beginnings of what is now a sprawling enterprise.
The diverse portfolio of vineyards is made up of L’Ormarins in Franschhoek, Rooderust in Darling, Riebeeksrivier in the Swartland, and Altima in isolated Elandskloof. I am lucky to specifically work mostly with grapes which come from our high-altitude Altima estate, and which informs the unique and award-winning characteristics of our L’Ormarins Cap Classique range.
At Anthonij Rupert Estate we have two exquisite tasting rooms, each one dedicated to specific wine ranges, and a range of wonderful guest experiences.
How did you first get into wine?
I was born in Upington and raised in Ermelo, Mpumalanga. I had a natural curiosity for agriculture from a young age. On family holidays and road trips, I was mesmerised by the vineyards I saw on the way. Wine labels and cultivars were interesting to me long before I chose it as a career path. Studying at Elsenburg Agricultural College was a natural choice, and I have worked in the wine industry ever since.
Can you remember the first glass of good wine you had?
I have a distinct memory of wine from my first harvest and was instantly mesmerised by the unique characteristics of each individual cultivar.
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
It is truly a delightful experience to see people enjoying the Cap Classique wines that I have made. It makes the hard work and long wait before these wines can be released all worthwhile.
What sets apart the wines you made?
Freshness and distinct acidity, partnered with a low Ph, allows for lengthy maturation and results in exceptional complexity. Although Cap Classique wines are always my first choice, I particularly enjoy well-made examples of Pinot Noir from across the world.
What is your favourite food and wine pairing?
Cap Classique pairs well with both sweet and savoury dishes, but lighter flavours, acidity and freshness are the key. Some of my favourites are crayfish or lobster tails grilled over the coals, prawns benedict, and fresh kabeljou or snapper with fennel and lime butter.
Which award are you proudest of?
A notable highlight thus far has been receiving five stars and Cap Classique of the Year for Platter’s 2023!
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
Always be humble and kind, and don’t let success go to your head. Each vintage must be approached in order to improve on the last.
What would you be if you weren’t a winemaker / in the wine business?
I think it would inevitably be something in the agricultural sector, as I have a great passion for animals and plants.
What do you want people to experience when drinking the wines you made?
I want them to recognise and appreciate the passion, love, and pride we put into crafting our wines.
The L’Ormarins Private Cuvée 2014 is available to purchase in an individual beautifully designed gift box through the estate’s online shop or directly from Anthonij Rupert Wine Estate at R470 per bottle.