As early as the 1970’s the Robertson area became acknowledged in the industry for its unique terroir – similar to that of the revered Champagne region in France, this incredible locale has the potential to produce world class sparkling wine. The exceptional climate, combined with the rich limestone soils produce wines with universal appeal and star quality.
The foundations for this celebrated brand’s success were laid in 1983 when our founder Graham Beck purchased Madeba, located near the picturesque Western Cape town of Robertson. Cellarmaster Pieter “Bubbles” Ferreira joined the cellar in 1990 and has been with the team from the very first vintage. Surprised by the intrinsic quality of the base wines even in those early days, they worked hard at establishing a solid platform for Cap Classique style wines.
On the estate great care is taken to match the distinctive micro-climates and diverse soil types to the most suitable varietals. The cellar was designed with the environment in mind and is a testimony to the inspired vision and foresight of the Beck family. With its distinctive hues of peach, green and purple, this unique cellar blends effortlessly into the surrounding Klein Karoo veld, reflecting the beauty of the indigenous fynbos, soils and rocky outcrops of the stark yet spectacular surroundings.
Located in a completely unique transition zone between two distinct ecosystems the farm falls within a fragile, fascinating and challenging environment. It is literally the site where two continents collided millennia ago, adding even greater international significance to this place of extraordinary natural beauty. Graham Beck is passionate about restoring and conserving the environment and producing world class wines in harmony with nature.
Cellar Master Pieter Ferreira is in no doubt as to the reason for Robertson’s success. “It’s the unique terroir – perfectly suited to the production of outstanding Cap Classique. We have the richest natural limestone deposits in the Western Cape. All our peers and competitors in the Cap Classique sparkling category are buying Robertson fruit, which is more forgiving and has more flavour than elsewhere,” he explains. “Limestone ensures low pH and natural acidity, so it’s ideal for bubblies.”
Two classic varieties are used for the base wines intended for the Graham Beck Cap Classique range. Chardonnay contributes fruit and elegance, while Pinot Noir lends complexity and length of flavour. Only the highest quality and perfectly healthy hand selected parcels are brought to the cellar. The majority of these grapes are sourced from the Graham Beck Robertson estate, whilst the rest is specially selected from other premium grape growing regions in the Western Cape.
Robertson’s other great natural asset is its diurnal range, one of the widest in the Western Cape. Most afternoons a cooling breeze comes in to offset the morning heat. “I love talking about it, because we can have a 38-40 degree Celsius day but at night we may need to dress warmly,” says Pieter. It’s precisely this diurnal shift (unique to the area) that is a significant contributor to the exceptional quality of the fruit.