Silverthorn Jewel Box MCC

I am sure that most of us at some stage of our lives dream of doing something we are passionate about but are often halted by the costs and also the realities of seeing it through. However, for the enterprising couple, John and Karen Loubser, their dream was realised when Karen was left to take care of her father’s farm after he passed away in 1999.

Her father Joachim Rieck had purchased this smallholding in the Robertson Valley in 1976 where he and his wife Rosemarie spent many wonderful years growing grapes and conserving the abundance of unspoilt flora, including wild olives, acacias and a wide range of succulents.

Joachim and John had analysed the soils on the farm and discovered similarity between the soils of the famous bubbly producing area of France, namely Champagne. They went ahead and planted on the rocky, lime-rich, shale soils Chardonnay as well as Shiraz, which is another cultivar that does so well in this region.

John, who had studied viticulture, was at the time working close by at the Graham Beck Cellar where he learnt about making Cap Classique from MCC guru and cellarmaster, Pieter Ferreira. The dream for John and Karen was to produce a range of fine Cap Classique wines and in 2004, when the Chardonnay vineyards were reaching potential for making wine, they went ahead and produced their first Cap Classic: the nonvintage Silverthorn “The Green Man” Blanc de Blanc.

John, who has no interest in diversifying from making Cap Classique from the grapes grown on Silverthorn, produced his first MCC Rosé in 2008 from Shiraz grapes and called it the Genie.

Now with two Cap Classiques under his belt it was time for him to produce a classic style Cap Classique, from Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, which would offer richness, opulence and complexity. Having received some welcome financial assistance from two committed wine enthusiasts, John was able to produce this classic style wine to the range which they launched last week. Made from the 2009 vintage it is called the Jewel Box and is a blend of 81 percent Chardonnay and 19 percent Pinot Noir.

The name Jewel Box was inspired by the ethos of Afropean Synergy — combining old world heritage and knowledge with contemporary African environment and culture. This synergy ties in with the magnificence of the stars in the Southern hemisphere and in particular the Southern Cross (Crux).


Embedded within the Southern Cross is a deep sky object known as Kappa Crucis later nicknamed “Jewel Box” by British astronomer, Sir John Herschel. The cluster consists of 100 vibrant sparkling stars! Dom Perignon, renowned for perfecting the art of making Champagne remarked after seeing the sparkling bubbles frothing out of the bottle for the first time “come quickly, I am drinking the stars!”

Fermentation of the Chardonnay was split between stainless steel and old French Oak barrels while the Pinot Noir was totally fermented in stainless steel. The wine was then blended and started its journey of the second fermentation in bottle. The wine then stayed on the lees for 36 months before being disgorged.

The result is an elegant rich wine with aromas of baked apples and biscotti leading to a silky palate with hints of citrus on the creamy finish.

The wine paired beautifully with crisp fried pork belly, seared scallop, garlic and toasted almond puree served with a MCC veloute made by the team at Luke Dale Robert’s Test Kitchen.

Expect to pay: R224.00

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