Portuguese cork supplier Amorim has championed the Methode Cap Classique (MCC) category for nearly two decades. Raising eyebrows as the overall winner was Plettenberg Bay winery Newstead Wines – the first time a producer from outside the traditional Western Cape winelands has won. At the helm of winemaking operations at Newstead is Anton Smal, a winemaker who cut his bubbly teeth at one of the country’s pioneering sparkling wine cellars, Villiera.

Significantly, Newstead Wines is one of the pioneers of the Plettenberg Bay winelands on the Cape South Coast some 520km east of Cape Town. It was founded by Doug and Sue Lund in 2006, with the first wines being made in 2012. Although Newstead’s Cap Classiques have won various accolades in the past, this is the first time the winery has featured at the Amorim Cap Classique Challenge. The award for this year’s overall winner, given to the wine that achieved the highest accumulated score.

In the other categories, the Amorim Cap Classique Challenge Trophy for Best Scoring Brut Blend went to Klein Roosboom from Durbanville with the Klein Roosboom Marné MCC Brut NV. Best Rosé was Franschhoek’s Anthonij Rupert Wines with its L’Ormarins Brut Classique Rosé NV, while the Graham Beck Bliss Nectar NV saw this famous Robertson producer win the trophy for Best Demi-Sec Cap Classique.

The competition also recognises older wines in the form of its Museum Class category. The winner for 2020 was Lourensford Wines in Somerset-West for Lourensford Cuvée 101 from the 2010 vintage.

According to judging panel chief Heidi Duminy CWM, the Blanc de Blancs category was the stand-out segment in this year’s competition, winning a total of five Double Gold medals.

“After a disappointing run last year, the Blanc de Blancs class is shining brightly again and was most consistently impressive,” she said. “The brilliance of the 2015 vintage really turned-up here in all its glory. The best wines ranged in discernible style from bright and showy to more restrained and pristine. Fresher styles with extended lees age should be appreciated. Chardonnay driven wines certainly seem the most promising for Cap Classique on the whole.”