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Graham Beck Brut Zero 2005


Yesterday the launch of Brut Zero 2005, a new addition to the Graham Beck Méthode Cap Classique range and one of the few non-dosage bubblies in the country (not the first as I originally posted – see comments below). Cellar price: R205 a bottle.

For those unfamiliar with the term, dosage involves the addition of a small portion of sweet liquid at the end of the bottle-fermented sparkling wien production process to lend balance. Typically Cap Classique labelled ‘”Brut” will have around seven grams of sugar per litre added in this way: it doesn’t make the wine taste sweet, but merely offsets the usually very high acidity.

Bubblies without dosage are a fringe category and require that the base wine must already be quite well balanced. The Brut Zero 2005 is from 80% Chardonnay and 20% Pinot Noir and Graham Beck cellarmaster Pieter Ferreira left it on the lees for a full six years  to impart extra richness as a counterpoint to the bracing acidity. Residual sugar is required to be under 3g/l and is in fact 2.1g/l, present in the wine on account of being unfermentable. The wine shows good flavour intensity, specifically citrus and attractive yeasty, biscuity notes; it’s really fresh as might be expected while the finish is particularly long and pithy (score: 16/20).

Food match? Le Quartier Français’s Margot Janse paired it with a slightly smoked oyster with cucumber, granadilla and chourizo which was very clever although I think a platter of the molluscs, fresh and unadorned could work quite nicely, too.


  1. Wasn’t Cabière’s Pierre Jourdan Brut Savage the first non-dosage bubbly in the country? Villiera has also been making their Brut Natural for quite some time. There are others too, like High Constantia’s Clos André.

  2. I stand duly corrected. Don’t drink the Pierre Jourdan wines very often so the Brut Savage slipped my mind, and genuinely did not know that Villiera Brut Natural and High Constantia Clos André were non-dosage. The style certainly has its followers and the observation might be made that the producers in question could afford to make a bit more of a fuss accordingly.


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