Morgenster White 2011

Morgenster Estate celebrated its 300th anniversary in 2011 and so owner Giulio  Bertrand coincided this celebration with the harvest of the grapes for his first white wine, the Morgenster White 2011. The wine was launched last week along with the outstanding flagship 2009 Morgenster Red and the elegant 2009 Morgenster Lourens River Red.

Morgenster, on the outskirts of Somerset West, has many wonderful stories about its buildings and first inhabitants, which can be read in the preserved 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 mid 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 three 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, started off  the tasting by introducing us to the  Morgenster White 2011. Made in the classic Bordeaux style, the wine is a blend of Sauvignon Blanc (55%) and Semillon (45%) grapes harvested from vineyards in the Schapenberg area, within a kilometre of Morgenster’s cellar. The wine is delicately wooded (8 months in 30% new oak barrels and 70% in six year old white wine oak barrels) and in line with Morgenster’s philosophy of producing wines that can age well, Henry is looking forward to monitoring its development in future years. Just over 3000 bottles of this maiden vintage were produced.

“It starts off ripe and fresh on the nose, with notes of rock melon, papaya and litchi, followed by aromas of flinty, gravelly, fresh wet earth. On the palate it is very well poised, with balanced ripeness and minerality playing off each other”, Henry says.

Although the wine is rich and complex it is easy to enjoy on its own but the highlight was when we paired it with fresh asparagus and melted butter! A serious and complete wine which is lovely to drink now but I believe will develop even further after a couple of years.

Morgenster White 2011 @ R155.00 from Wine Concepts.


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