The 2010 vintage was Henry Kotzé’s first at Morgenster in Somerset West after his move from Eikendal and the farm’s two Bordeaux-style reds from that year have just been released.
The Lourens River Valley 2010 is a blend of 50% Cabernet Franc, 33% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon and 7% Petit Verdot and was matured for 16 months in French oak, 30% new (price: R149). It seems designed to have the broadest possible appeal – very expressive on the nose with plenty of red berries and some attractive oak spice while the palate is fruit driven with fresh acidity and fine tannins. Sweet and juicy upfront before a savoury finish. Score: 16.5/20.
The Morgenster 2010, however, is in a different league. A blend of 48% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Cabernet Franc and 7% Petit Verdot, it spent 18 months in French oak, 60% new (price: R320). I think Kotzé is inclined to pursue plushness rather than austerity but he does this in a very accomplished manner. There’s plenty of fruit concentration but great structure, too – there’s grip but these tannins are not at all coarse or hard. Red and black fruit and subtle vanilla but also hints of more savoury notes like mixed herbs and olive. Dense but not weighty and seamlessly put together. Ridiculously easy to drink now but should improve at least until 2017. Score: 18/20.
Also on show yesterday was the Morgenster White 2012. The second vintage of a Bordeaux-style white from Kotzé, it’s made from bought-in grapes and consists of 53% Semillon and 47% Sauvignon Blanc and matured in French oak for eight months, 25% new (price: R149). It’s subtle and restrained, which are normally admirable qualities, but this a difficult wine to get to grips with. Really applying myself, I found green melon, white peach and a touch of vanilla. I think it will be better in twelve months’ time so a score of 16/20.