The Paul René MCC is a new addition to the Wonderfontein Wine Farm in Robertson, but beyond its fresh flavour is a bubbly that’s made with love.
In the Western Cape, we are spoilt for choice when it comes to MCC. With so many high-quality local producers on our doorstep, it can be easy to take new offerings for granted. But, when Southern Vines heard of a bubbly that came from humble beginnings, and which is quickly growing into a brand that enthusiasts are taking notice of, we had to investigate. The brainchild of Henk and Monica van Niekerk, the Paul René MCC is, in the truest sense, a labour of love.
In 2008 Henk and Monica moved to Wonderfontein Wine Farm in the heart of the scenic Route 62. At this time, the couple was going through an emotionally challenging period, and threw all their energy into dreaming about and developing something new and exciting. They worked on the project for five years, and by 2013 when the brand was well established and ready to be released, their baby son Paul René, for which the MCC is named, was born to complete the family.
“To us living on a farm with our family and making MCC is a living dream, and one that we appreciate every day.”
Inspired by the desire to create a product of the highest quality, the couple decided to use chardonnay grapes for which the Langeberg Valley is so well known. The result is a delicate, inviting flavour — it’s one for a special occasion, although, as Henk points out, “there is a special occasion in every day.” The real inspiration behind the bubbly, though, is rooted in the idea that life should be celebrated. “We always strive to be happier than the day before, and bubbles make that easier,” says Henk.
When Henk was a child, he would steal groceries from his mother’s kitchen to take on expeditions with his fellow boy scouts, his passion for mixing flavours was clear from a very young age. He hasn’t grown out of this enthusiasm to play with flavour, and the MCC is testament to this energy. Monica, on the other hand, spent her days as a child in her grandmother’s art studio, growing a creativity which would eventually show in her talent as a designer and illustrator.
The MCC is a family affair, with Henk as farmer and bubbly producer, and Monica as the brains behind the beautiful packaging and design. “Working together has been a fantastic privilege and journey. The challenge is that I am a dreamer and Monica is an even bigger dreamer. Although we have spent many early coffee mornings together, drives to Cape Town and late evenings discussing and planning, it has never felt like work. To us living on a farm with our family and making MCC is a living dream, and one that we appreciate every day,” says Henk.
The Wonderfontein Wine Farm is the perfect setting for the project, with its gorgeous vineyards, historic buildings and picture-perfect views. Besides that, the farm has been in Monica’s family for years, so it’s a fitting location for the couple to have started their dream venture, and of course, their own family.
Every bottle of Paul René MCC is fermented for no less than 20 months, a technique that creates a vibrant flavour with apricot and green apple freshness and a dry finish. The chardonnay grapes that go into each bottle are handpicked early in the morning and then chilled overnight before being passed into the press to be crushed, crate by crate. Only 3 000 bottles are produced every year, and each bottle is hand labelled and packed.
It’s clear that love transcends from the start and straight through to the final product.