1. Bottega Black Diamond:
Distilleria Bottega is an Italian distillery with a distinctive twist to producing wines. Their bottles are exquisite, the perfect end-of-the-year gifts for someone you’d like to impress. Made using the Charmat method from Pinot Noir grapes from Lombardia in Italy, Bottega Black Diamond with its diamond-encrusted bottle is the ultimate special occasion champagne. It pairs well with rich meaty stews, peri-peri flavours, curries and cheeses. Average retail price:R 379
2. Graham Beck Brut NV
It’s not a celebration without the clink of a champagne glass! We round up 10 of the best sparkling vintages for you to stock the refrigerator with this festive season.
A South African favourite, Graham Beck’s non-vintage Brut is an all-round crowd pleaser that’s scooped many awards both local and international. It has the honour of being the bubbly used to toast the Inauguration of Nelson Mandela as South Africa's first democratically elected President, and was selected by Michelle Obama for the occasion of Barack Obama's acceptance speech of the US Presidency. It’s made from a combination of classic MCC varieties, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Average retail price: R105
3. Krone Rosé Cuveé Brut MCC from House of Krone
Pink bubbles are something special. The Krone Rosé is tastes of red berries and is sassy and refreshing. It’s a mixture of 40% Chardonnay and 60% Pinot Noir – the latter is what gives it the salmon pink hue. Also try the Krone Cuveé Brut MCC, which tastes as heavenly, with its fine star-like bubbles, as its celestial name suggests. Average retail price: R142.50 (Rosé), R107.50 (Borealis)
4. Simonsig Kaapse Vonkel
Kaapse Vonkel is an iconic bubbly which has been gracing our tables for decades. It’s as Mzansi as it gets; and was South African Airway’s selected champagne served in-flight for 2012. The swirl of tiny bubbles is accompanied with citrus notes and followed up by full berry flavours. It’s delicious with oysters, light soup starters, sushi and desserts. Also great as a palate cleanser between courses. Average retail price: R105
5. Pongracz Desiderius
Few South African restaurants don’t have Pongracz on the wine list. A mix of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, this dry sparkling wine has a rich complexity that lingers on the tongue long after the last sip. Pongracz Desiderius ages rather well, with the favours becoming more creamy and nutty as it matures. For something a little lighter, try the Pongracz Rosé NV. Average retail price: R290 (Desiderius), R120 (Rosé)
6. Steenberg 1682 Chardonnay Brut
This is a fruity, refreshing bubbly to kick-off an evening of New Year celebrations. The 1682 Brut from Steenberg smells of biscuits straight from the oven and ripe Granny Smith apples, and is a 100% Chardonnay base made in the traditional French method. If you’re ever in Constantia Valley then a stop at the vineyard’s daytime Bistro Sixteen82 for a wine-tasting is a must. Average retail price: R120
7. Villiera Tradition Brut NV
This full-bodied cap classique is a beautifully balanced blend of white and red grapes. It’s fast becoming a zesty favourite at South African tables, and the strawberry-kissed Tradition Brut Rosé NV is also delicious. But for the ultimate spoil get your hands on a bottle of the 2007 vintage of the Villiera Monro Brut which is one of the few MCCs to scoop five stars in the 2013 Platters South African Wine Guide.
Average retail price R99 (Tradition Brut NV), R99 (Tradition Brut Rosé NV), R173 (Monro Brut 2007)
8. Bollinger Special Cuvee
This is the real deal: French champagne from the Champagne region, from a family-run establishment. The Special Cuvee is their non-vintage bubbly and is best enjoyed sipped on its own or complimenting white meat or seafood dishes. It has hints of vanilla and is made up of 60% Pinot Noir, 25% Chardonnay and 15% Pinot Meunier. Affectionately called ‘Bolly’ by the Brits.
Average retail price: R760
9. Colmant Brut Reserve NV
This pale gold beauty has a clean and elegant nose, with hints of lemon that develop into a spicy toastiness. Colmant’s Brut Reserve is made up of 10% of the blend from the previous vintage and is aged for a minimum of 28 months. It pairs well with delicate seafood and sushi dishes, and is perfect for starters and light lunches. Average retail price R159
10. Veuve Clicquot Yellow N/V
With its distinctive yellow label, this is a king among champagnes. Veuve Clicquot Yellow, which is of the Brut family, makes a forceful first impression with strong fruit flavours that are mellowed by a nose of raisins, vanilla and brioche. Also a good gift for any celebration. Average retail price: R599