There is no better way to start a new year than with a tantalising sensory experience at The House of J.C. Le Roux in Stellenbosch. They carefully pair their Méthode Cap Classique and sparkling wines with a selection of tempting sweet treats from nougat to marshmallows and meringues, making it an unforgettable experience.
The House of J.C. Le Roux, South Africa’s leading home of sparkling wine is nestled in the picturesque Devon Valley near Stellenbosch, is famous for making fine vintage Méthode Cap Classique and sparkling wines to suit every palate.
We were greeted by a superbly chic and luxurious tasting hall that invited you in and begged you to sit on its sleek couches and chairs. Royal blue velvet booths, were positioned elegantly amongst the white tasting tables with their lush red chairs. Light rays shone from the walls in the shapes of stars and little goblets of light hung in groups from the ceiling.
I had a quick peek at Le Fleurette’s pink room of Bachelorette heaven before taking a seat in one of the blue-couched booths where we waited for our tasting to start.
When it comes to Methode Cap Classique, grapes are handpicked, whole bunches are then pressed so that the best of the free flowing juice can be used. After a base wine is made it undergoes a second fermentation where yeast and sugar CO2 are added which brings about the magical bubbles over time. The sediment left behind collects in the neck by daily turning and tilting of the bottles in riddling racks. Once the neck is frozen and metal cap removed, the bubbles force the residue out before liqueur d’expedition is added to balance the taste and the bottle is corked and wired.
The sparkling wines undergo a similar process but have their alcohol fermentation stopped halfway which leaves 75 grams per litre of natural grape sugar in the wine.
When it was time for our tasting we were led from our blue-couched booth where we were waiting to our lush red chairs where bubbly and “sweets” waited for us.
Not wanting to miss out we decided to go half-half on the nougat and marshmallows so that we got to experience all the flavours offered.
Our tasting took us from the dry bruts to the sweeter products which meant that we would begin with the Pinot Noir and nougat in dark chocolate. The acidity of the Pinot Noir is paired to bring out the richness of almond and honey in the nougat, this ended up being one of my favourites.
Next came the Rose Water Turkish Delight with the Pinot Noir Rose. This pairing was a delightful one and the rose water truly brought out the red berries and floral element as planned and left me wanting more.
The La Vallee and Mango Macadamia Nougat was great middle ground for those not keen on the very sweet or the very dry. The La Vallée was also paired with a caramel crunch meringue which brought forth hints of pears, litchis and primary fruit.
But my taste buds really rejoiced with the final two pairings. The pretty La Fleurette, a sparkling rose, was paired with Cranberry Macadamia Nougat and as a red berry lover; La Fleurette was a winner for me with its taste of berries and tropical fruits. I also got to experience it with white chocolate strawberry marshmallow, an enchanting taste!
The last and definitely sweetest pairing was the white chocolate nougat and coconut marshmallow accompanied by the good ol’favourite Le Domaine.
Definitely a very tantalising sensory experience!