Stephan grew up in Tulbagh valley. Growing up he was always interested in the alchemic nature of fermentation. He would make ginger beer at home and sell it to staff of the surrounding wineries during harvest times. De Beer soon realised he wanted to immerse himself in the science and art of winemaking. To this end he achieved a degree in BSc. Agric in Oenology and Viticulture at the University of Stellenbosch in 2006.
From the very beginning it was the bubbles that fascinated him, and De Beer was determined to carve out a career as a Cap Classique specialist. In 2008 he became the assistant winemaker for Vintage-only Krone Cap Classique and in 2014 he rose to the head winemaker position.
Cap Classique is an exiting category, which is also by its very nature surrounded by fun events and celebrations. The quality of the wines is also world class. I’ve been lucky enough to visit to the Champagne region three times. A major highlight was tasting Dom Perignon vintage champagnes in the very house where he lived, to see where he first discovered that he accidently made a wine with bubbles, and to see where he was laid to rest… It still gives me goosebumps when I think back to that moment. These trips have really contributed a lot to my understanding and knowledge in creating Krone Cap Classique.
I started my Cap Classique journey at Twee Jonge Gezellen in 2008 and I’ve never looked back. At that time, I had no experience in making Cap Classique, but I was eager to learn. I fell in love with the method of doing a second fermentation in the bottle. I also loved the blending process as well as making the yeast mother culture that is needed for the second fermentation. After my first harvest and first bottling I decided that I wanted to make Cap Classique “forever”. I am now fortunate to make vintage-only Cap Classique for Krone as head winemaker, doing what I love. We are currently working on a terroir specific Cap Classique that is very interesting, and I can’t wait to release it.
Every moment here in the cellar is a top moment but if I have to pick it would be whenever we have an event because we really go all out to host an unforgettable experience for our guests.
Twee Jonge Gezellen is situated just below the Saronsberg mountain, which delivers plenty of water for our vines – helpful in very dry years like the 2017 and 2018 vintages. We have very rocky soils with a deep clay bed, which is perfect for growing both chardonnay and pinot noir, the two main cultivars in Krone Cap Classique. Because we are surrounded by mountains we have hot days, which is good for vine growth, but we also have nice cool nights in summer, which helps the vines to retain the fresh, high acidity levels, which is important in Cap Classique production.
We don’t blend different vintages together. We rather let each vintage tell a story; rather than to blend the differences away, whether it is a dry, hot year or a cold, wet year. We still stick to our style of Cap Classique, but each vintage is unique in its own way and we like to let each vintage speak for itself.
A limited edition collection offering three vintages to illustrate how each vintage is different. It is a very good example of how each year will change the wine slightly and how that specific vintage performed. In this instalment we are showcasing the 2017, 2018 and the 2019 vintages, which are all unique in their own way.
The creation of the bubble inside each bottle is fascinating. The second fermentation process is responsible for the creation of the bubble but there are a lot of other factors at play to create the perfect bubble and for me this is where the magic happens.
I would have to say Krone Kaaimansgat Blanc de Blancs 2016: it is looking extremely good after five years on the lees and is a great example of what the Kaaimansgat terroir has to offer.