Morgenster Estate is 300 years old this year and so owner Giulio Bertrand had every good reason to celebrate this milestone along with the launch of the 2008 Morgenster and Lourens River Red wines. Many wonderful stories about the first inhabitants and buildings can be found written in the historical manuscripts, but the real success of this beautiful estate lies with Giulio who settled here from his Piedmont home in Italy in 1992. When he saw Morgenster he said it was love at first sight “I have never felt so attracted to a place like I was with Morgenster”. The idea was to have the home for his retirement; however this formidable man now in his 80’s has still to retire!
Upon acquiring the farm he set about preserving the historical buildings including the strikingly beautiful manor house where Giulio resides. He called in experts to assess the farms terroir and was told that the soils had potential to produce fine quality wine and olive oil. Giulio’s motto “Where there is passion there is no compromise” has resulted in Morgenster’s Olive Oil being rated, on a yearly basis, as one of the finest produced in the world and his Bordeaux style red wines, under the guidance of Cheval Blanc’s, Pierre Luton, are sought after by prominent Sommeliers and wine collectors both locally and abroad.
Morgenster has its past heritage but is focusing considerable energy and commitment to the future and so over the past two years has been busy with a replanting programme for both olive trees and vines. Morgenster has a partnership with the Olive Oil Research Institute in Italy from where they import the world’s most up to date olive tree cultivars and production technology. As a result Morgenster has a large olive tree nursery producing 100,000 trees a year which are sold to other Olive Oil producers around the country! In the vineyards replanting is only done with modern clonal material and rootstocks suitable to the soil types and elevation. In this respect Morgenster is in line with its associates at Cheval Blanc in St Emillion.
Winemaker, Henry Kotze, introduced us to the 2008 flagship red blends, the Morgenster and the Lourens River Valley, which for the first time have been released in the third year after harvest. Henry explained that the decision to depart from the Estate’s previous practice of releasing wines in the fourth year was taken so that wine enthusiasts could enjoy the early vibrancy of the fruit.
Although 2008 was a difficult vintage on the estate, the result produced elegant, delicate wines with abundant fruit and subtle tannins. The 2008 Lourens River Valley has a brilliant ruby red hue with aromas of black cherry and hints of savoury liquorice. The velvety smooth palate showed concentrated blackcurrant fruit with hints of cracked pepper before heading to its long rich finish. Made from a blend of Cabernet Franc (53%), Merlot (25%), Cabernet Sauvignon (21%) and (1%) Petit Verdot the wine is perfect to enjoy now but no harm to cellar for a further 3 years.
The Morgenster 2008, which is a blend of Merlot (36%), Cabernet Franc (33%), Cabernet Sauvignon (19%) and (12%) Petit Verdot, has generous earthy aromas of rich cassis, with subtle vanilla and caramel. The full bodied flavours of rich fresh blackberry and raspberry fruit along with subtle savoury marmite on the mid palate culminated in a balanced finish with structured tannins. Perfect now to compliment food, we enjoyed the wine with oven roasted loin of lamb with a rich garlic and rosemary sauce. However I believe this wine needs more time in the bottle to release its full potential, perhaps for a further 5 years (we were able to enjoy the delicious 2003 vintage on the day which proved its ability to develop into something really special!)
Morgenster Lourens River Valley 2008 @ R140.00
Morgenster 2008 @ R325.00