“I only drink Champagne when I’m happy and when I’m sad. Sometimes I drink it when I’m alone. When I have company I consider it obligatory. I trifle with it if I’m not in a hurry and drink it when I am, otherwise I never touch the stuff unless I am thirsty” – Lilly Bollinger
Wise words by Madame Bollinger, Champagne is such a wondrous thing, we drink to celebrate, as a ‘pick-me-up’, to show off a bit with friends, the list can go on. It has a place and space at every occasion.
When I think of Champagne, brands such as Moët & Chandon, Dom Pérignon and Krug Champagne come to mind: the biggest Champagne Houses in the industry. To me these brands represent a fabulous lifestyle, rich and long history, with their roots founded in family and authenticity. Therefore, we affiliate ourselves with these brands, as these are the emotions we would like our guests to enjoy whilst visiting at Londolozi. We are a family owned and run business and, therefore associate ourselves, wherever possible, with other generational family run wine estates around the world.
Moët & Chandon (now owned by Moët Hennessy) was founded by Épernay wine trader, Claude Moët, in 1743. It was Claude Moët’s grandson, Jean-Remy, who introduced, towards the end of the 18th century, Champagne to the world. In 1921 the Moët and Chandon family bottled the first vintage Dom Pérignon as its flagship Champagne.
The House of Krug was founded by Joseph Krug in 1843, and became part of the Moët Hennessy portfolio in 1999. The House of Krug continues the tradition of family and Henri, the great great grandson of Joseph, is still on the Krug tasting committee, whilst his son Olivier Krug, is now the House director.
Sparkling wine may only be called Champagne if it is made in the Champagne region of France and produced under the rules of that appellation. In South Africa, we refer to Méthode Cap Classique or MCC as our version of Champagne, which indicates that the wine is made in the same traditional method used in the Champagne region of France.
At Londolozi we also have developed a close affiliation with Graham Beck Wines, the leader of MCC in South Africa. Graham Beck was founded in 1983 when he purchased Madeba, a farm located outside the Western Cape town of Robertson. It was Graham Beck’s ambition to establish a world-class winery in this area, resulting in the establishment of a state-of-the-art cellar and world class tasting facility.
Graham Beck set aside a part of the wine farm in the 1990s, known as the Graham Beck Private Nature Reserve. Shortly after the Becks purchased the farm, they set about reversing the devastating effects of 200 years of over-utilization of the natural resources. Currently, efforts continue to conserve the wildlife in the region, including the protection of the riverine rabbit, fish eagle, Cape eagle owl, honey badger, bat eared fox, Cape clawless otter, eland and the Cape Leopard to name a few. It is for this reason that Londolozi feels a close affiliation to the Graham Beck conservation philosophies.
Our house MCC is the Graham Beck Brut N/V which is a blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir which has light yeasty aromas and secondary tones of limey fresh fruit on the nose with rich creamy complexity on the palate.
The maiden vintage of Graham Beck Brut was chosen for Nelson Mandela’s inauguration as president of South Africa in 1994 and in 2009 Barack Obama celebrated being elected the 44th American president with Graham Beck Brut N/V.
Other options on the Londolozi wine list include: Graham Beck Brut Rosé N/V, which has subtle red berry flavours and for something exceptional, one can choose the Graham Beck Brut Zero. This wine is almost free of sugar, so it is a sparkling wine in its purist form. It is a blend of 87% Chardonnay and 13% Pinot Noir, is rich in minerality and has flavours of fresh green apples, brioche and citrus.
Another excellent MCC on our wine list is the Steenberg 1682 Brut Chardonnay N/V, located in Constantia and the oldest wine growing region in the country. The wild story behind this estate centres on its Founder, Catharina Ras and her 5 husbands, many of whom passed under mysterious circumstances…more about this when you visit us. This wine has aromas of fresh granny smith apples, peach and overtones of freshly baked biscuits, and a creamy, yet fresh, mouth feel.
So why do we celebrate with Champagne? First and foremost, at Londolozi we celebrate life, we celebrate sparkling moments, we celebrate the fact that no matter what occasion, we have the right bubbles for you!
Written by: Kim Drake
I find myself reaching for that glass of happiness as I read this.
Well written Kim and welcome to the blogging fraternity of Londolozi
Well written and researched. Lovely post.
Well done Kim!!!
We are so happy to have you join the blog team, Welcome!
here’s to wines @ Londolozi.
Excellent Kim! Moet & Chandon is my favourite just like you.
We enjoyed the Graham Beck sparkling wines immensely while we were at Tree Camp in September and were ecstatic when we found it in our wine stores here in Toronto, Canada once we got back home. We will keep a supply on hand here until we can get back to Londolozi and enjoy it from the deck at Tree Camp once again! Thanks Kim for the informative history of the Beck family and their great work to preserve nature in South Africa, which is another reason to continue to buy their wines and further promote their great work and wines!
Fascinating! Thanks Kim – looking forward to many more.
Living in Sonoma County, California, I appreciate your insights & comments.
Thanks Kim & well done to the Beck Family for their preservation of wildlife <3
Incredible post Kimbo! Thank you for your contribution to the blog and I look so forward to seeing many more!
Excellent article. We will be tipping a glass with you in just 44 more days. Visiting Londolozi the first time was a dream of a lifetime….to be returning is beyond imagination!
For appointed Times 🙂
Wow – thank you Kim! I haven’t drunk champagne in years, but reading your blog has me very excited to try the Glen Beck Brut N/V when I return in June!