The French (and Italian) connection at Morgenster Wine and Olive Estate

Thursday, 10 May, 2018
Dave March CWM
Morgenster recently celebrated the release of owner Giulio Bertrand’s selected eight wines as well as their first MCC, Cuvée Alessandra 2016.

Guests were graced by the presence of famous French wine estates Cheval Blanc and Chȃteau d’Yquem winemaking consultant, Pierre Lurton, in his twentieth year visiting South Africa, as well as industry professionals. Pierre helps Cellar Master Henry Kotzé and Giulio create their wines and even serves as a Director of the estate.

The gathering was shown the Extra Brut Cabernet Franc Cuveé Alexandra MCC, proving the red berry fruitiness and structure of this varietal takes very well to a sparkling version, and with 16 months on the lees this wine showed classic mousse, touches of yeastiness and rich, fine, clean flavours. The Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2018 was an attack on the senses, so classic, so gooseberry, opening to mildly tropical and citrus balance, the Caruso Rosé 2018 next kept the impact going, with dry, wild raspberry of Sangiovese and candy floss notes, and not your average rosé.

The last white was the Reserve 2015, absolutely stunning, wet hay, peaches, lanolin, cream and wet pebbles, extraordinary and unsurprisingly already nearly gone.

Then followed the reds; the Sangiovese Tosca 2015, all restraint, spice, cedar and bitter cherry. Next the Nebbiolo Nabucco 2015, shy, pale and tactile, with dusty tannins and layered power. The Lourens River 2014 is still deep garnet, vanilla and plum, open and plump and profound, then the ‘other’ flagship, the Estate Red 2014. Clean and sombre, balanced, complex and cerebral, this is a wine for contemplation – it has such harmony. To show its aging capability winemaker Henry opened a few of the 2003 and’ oohs’ and ‘aahs’ could be heard. Tawny-red hued, hints of leaf and leather, yes, but still fruit driven and fresh and rich and very fine. As Pierre Lurton said, “when a wine can travel in time, then it is a great wine”.

Morgenster took guests to show off their very expensive new Olive press and the workings behind their award winning Olive Oils, a simpler process than making wine, but with as much nuance, care and attention. Lunch followed, Italian soup, bread, cheeses and meats and Olive products of course, accompanied by more MCC, White Reserve and Estate Red.

Pierre has strong connections with Morgenster and other SA estates and has many friends here, as he says, “this is a nice place to make outstanding wine”.