Owner: Jean-Philippe Colmant
Winery Philosophy: Our values lie in living cohesively with our environment, knowing that our grapes are a true gift of nature's immense generosity, so as the air we breathe. We strive to live as self-sufficiently as we can, making best use of the land we find ourselves fortunate enough to live on and by remaining conscious consumers, allowing us to reduce our footprint on this beautiful planet. We hope that in doing so, we can inspire others to work together in creating a better future for all.
A beautiful encounter
The first time I laid my eyes upon its majestic mountains, I could never have imagined the magic that the Franschhoek valley held for my family and I. It was Autumn 2001, and, my wife Isabelle and I, Jean-Philippe Colmant, both from Belgium, were following a calling which had been reaching out to us for a while- one for adventure, something novel, an even more beautiful life for us and our children. It was the first time that we visited South Africa, but we knew that this was not just an ordinary holiday. Our hearts, our minds and our souls all insistently bloomed, as we knew we would fall in love with a new home for our family, should it happen to cross our path.
The glorious beauty of the Franschhoek valley mesmerised us, and the more we discovered about the quaint historic village, the more we fell in love with it. We knew that we had found the perfect home for our family, a perfect place for the birth and realisation of dreams.
The perfect answer
Dreams and smiles have not stopped growing since that day. Upon our return to Belgium, a big announcement had to be made to our five young children, and within a few months, we had sold our stone-manufacturing business and packed up our lives in hundreds of boxes. In December 2002, our little troop of a family arrived in South Africa, full of exhilaration and anticipation of the future, and ready to settle into our new home- a beautiful 5 hectare piece of land nestled in the heart of the Franschhoek valley. Aside from our house and a few trees, the land was then barren, and the prospects of this blank canvas tickled our dreams and creativity.
The first few years on the farm were so exciting, as colour began to take life on our canvas, with visions and ideas as to what we wished to do with this piece of land, this new life. Our encounters and our special passion for the wine industry had led us to the perfect answer: bubbles! Although lots of care had been given towards growing and evolving South African wines over the previous decades, the country's sparkling wine industry, "Methode Cap Classique", had not been given all the attention that it deserved. We thus decided to set off on a journey of bubbles and merriment.
Our very own bubbles
Chardonnay and Pinot Noir vineyards were planted on the farm, and thanks to the wonderful help and hospitality of the South African people, I was able to learn huge amounts about how to become a successful farmer and winemaker. In 2005, the construction of our cellar was completed. Our cellar was the first in the country to be dedicated solely to MCC, and since our decision to take on this journey, we have sworn to focus all of our love and attention in this cellar to producing top quality sparkling wines. I designed the cellar in such a way that it could capacitate the production, and maturation, of limited amounts of bottles each year, and I vow to maintain this limited capacity through growth and time, to ensure that the special touch in each bottle remains, no matter what.
While patiently awaiting for our first harvest's production to be ready for release, we also started importing Champagnes from meticulously selected estates in France, and remain importers of these Champagnes today. We were very proud and duly elated upon the release our first very own bottle of Colmant Cap Classique in the spring of 2008 and have, since then, been thrilled at the amount of times we have had to pop a bottle to celebrate our achievements, and our beautiful life! Today, we produce 50000 bottles of fine Cap Classique wines, across five different blends, and are beaming with pride at the quality of our wines as well as of the growth of the Cap Classique industry. We look forward to continued celebration of bubbles, life and happiness in the future, and hope to be able to share this celebration with you too.
The magic continues
January 2016 marked very exciting prospects for the continuation of our story. Manon, my eldest daughter, with her Partner, Mark, having come back from a beautiful journey of travels around the world, made the decision to return to our family farm. Filled with an abundance of big dreams and visions, they are now ready to sow their own seeds on the farm, while of course, joining me in putting that unique and loving touch in each bottle of bubbly produced. I look forward to witnessing the development and magic that they will contribute to the farm into the future.
Varietals Produced: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir
Winemaker: Jean-Philippe Colmant
Our cellar was erected from scratch in 2005. According to our philosophy of hands-on quality, we designed a cellar that was both modern, small and efficient, which allows us to control the whole production cycle. The cellar has been built in a "Cape Vernacular" style which matches the existing homestead and has wrap-around views of the valley and nestles under the majestic Middagkrans peak.
The tanks room is equipped with 14 stainless steel tanks with capacities from 1000 L to 14000 L, allowing greater flexibility in the handling of the different grape parcels. Our cold room allows us to cool over 8 tons of grapes freshly picked down to 0°C overnight before pressing, giving amazing results in the quality of the juice. The barrels room, built in a rustic brick wall style, is maintained permanently at a cool temperature of 13°C and a perfect level of humidity. Probably the most important is the bottle maturation room, with a storage capacity of over 100.000 bottles and where your Cap Classique will quietly and gently mature in the bottle for 2 years or more, in the dark and at a steady temperature of 13 to 14°C.
We use exclusively Pinot Noir and Chardonnay in our production process, more or less in equal proportions. Each variety has its own personality : Pinot Noir imparts structure and power to the blend and adds depth, complexity, backbone, strength and fullness. It often produces a light, earthy, red fruits aroma. Chardonnay brings finesse, life, freshness, elegance. Chardonnay is detected at first in Methode Traditionnelle with its intensity and perfume., with floral and sometimes mineral aromas. Its slow development gives an ideal ageing potential.
The most crucial part of making a refined bubbly being the blending, it is of the utmost importance for us to select the perfect blending components, each one bringing an extra dimension to the final product. For that reason, we select our grapes from different valleys, according to the specificity of each terroir, ensuring that we have enough components to work with to make a base wine with maximum complexity.
Our Chardonnay is sourced mainly from the Franschhoek Valley renowned for it's Chardonnays which offer a perfect balance between full structure and a level of acidity that brings freshness and vivacity... 70% of the Chardonnay is produced on our farm, 3 hectares of vineyards maintained by ourselves under the supervision of viticulturist Paul Wallace. The rest of the Chardonnay is sourced from the limy soils of Robertson.
Our Pinot Noir is carefully selected from 5 different farms located in Robertson, Elgin, and Stellenbosch, all areas recognized to be the most suitable places to produce Pinot Noir combining body and finesse.