Wine: Pongracz Grape: Pinot Noir, Chardonnay Region: Stellenbosch, South Africa Vintage: Non-vintage THERE is no real substitute for Champagne. Sparkling wines are made in most wine-producing areas of the world. Many are dismal attempts. Often the sparkling wine does not undergo the second fermentation in the bottle, and the grapes used may not be the only three varieties permitted for Champagne: Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier. When sparkling wine is made following the traditional method for Champagne and the grapes are permitted varietals, success can result. Pongracz, made by the large co-operative Bergkelder in Stellenbosch, is an excellent sparkling wine - certainly the best I have come across from South Africa. The composition is two-thirds Pinot Noir and one-third Chardonnay. The wine is disgorged after two years on lees. Pongracz, a light straw in colour, has a fine persistent mousse. On the palate there is an initial clean freshness followed by a slightly yeasty, biscuity flavour, good fruit on the middle palate and a dry finish. Pongracz is good value for money at one-third the price of most Champagnes and makes an excellent aperitif. Where To Buy: Direct from the importer Larkon (Tel: 2850-5063) at $120 per bottle retail price.