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Morgenster 2008

"Cashmere tannins".

What impresses about those behind Somerset West property Morgenster is how deliberate they are in the way they go about their business. Owner Giulio Bertrand, an Italian who originally made his money as the manufacturer of luxury fabric and if part of the definition of “luxury” is comfort and freedom from physical distress, then that is precisely what the Morgenster wines deliver.

Yesterday the official launch the property’s two Bordeaux-style red blends from the 2008 vintage. Second-label Lourens River Valley 2008 is a blend fof 53% Cabernet Franc, 25% Merlot, 21% Cabernet Sauvignon and 1% Petit Verdot, 18 months in oak, 25% new. Henry Kotzé, incumbent as winemaker since October 2009, describes it as having “abundant fruit with delicate tannins” and explains that it is intended to be “accessible and friendly”. Pierre Lurton of Cheval Blanc and Yquem fame and a Morgenster director says of it “not very powerful and easy to drink”. For me, a medium bodied wine with lots of red fruit and polished tannins. So easy to drink as to be a bit simple…

The flagship Morgenster is also very plush but significantly more substantial. Here the blend is 36% Merlot, 33% Cabernet Franc, 19% Cabernet Sauvignon and 12% Petit Verdot, the wine having spent 18 months in oak, 50% new. The wine shows black rather than red fruit and has more concentration but the tannins are again “soft and velvety” to quote Kotzé. “An exotic wine with a French touch,” observes Lurton, and you do get a sense of Frenchman reveling in levels of ripeness he would ordinarily struggle to get back home.

Those who have followed the property’s progress will be interested to note that there was no flagship wine released from the 2007 vintage. I sneaked a tasted of the Lourens River Valley 2007, released in October last year and set to sell concurrently with the 2008, and it was much more to my palate with fresh acidity and firmer but still fine tannins. I suspect, however, that this more classical style is the antithesis of what how those at Morgenster want their wines to be perceived in the market place and hence why only a second-label release.


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