Hartenberg current releases

By , 24 May 2023

Carl Schultz started at Hartenberg in November 1993 and has therefore just completed his 30th consecutive harvest at the Bottelary property. He is now one of the “elder statesmen” of the industry, philosophical about all he does, meticulous in his winemaking.

The reason for a recent visit to Hartenberg was to check out their regenerative agricultural programme, the core idea behind this being to work with nature, instead of against it, to increase land productivity and biodiversity.

When it comes to Hartenberg’s efforts in this regard, controlled grazing is key – farming with cattle began in 2017 and the combination of the treading effect from the cattle’s hooves, the pulling effect from the way they graze, as well as their saliva, manure, and urine all improve soil health.

Fascinating to observe the above, but what of the wines? It must be said that the Hartenberg portfolio remains resolutely old-school in the sense of favouring an aesthetic that favours ripeness and impact, especially when it comes to the reds. Tasting notes and ratings for the current releases as follows (the 2017s featured below released after the 2018s, the latter deemed to be more accessible sooner):

Riesling 2020
Price: R170

Fermented in stainless steel tank and left on the lees for six months. Lime, some petrol and spice on the nose while the palate has good fruit concentration, arresting acidity and a very dry finish. Alc: 13%.

CE’s rating: 91/100.

Chardonnay 2020
Price: R190

Fermented and matured for 11 months in barrel, 15% new. Citrus and some struck-match reduction on the nose while the palate shows dense fruit, bright acidity and a dry finish. Well balanced with a nicely creamy texture. Alc: 13%.

CE’s rating: 92/100.

Merlot 2018
Price: R225
Matured for 18 months in barrel, 60% new. Cassis, chocolate, undergrowth and earth on the nose while the palate is monolithic in its fruit concentration and tannic structure. Not completely without freshness, the finish very dry. Alc: 14%.

CE’s rating: 92/100.

Shiraz 2019
Price: R280
Matured for 19 months in barrel, 15% new. Brooding aromatics of dark berries, lilies, malt, earth, pepper and other spice. The palate has massive fruit concentration and a smooth texture – a robust wine that just about remains balanced. Alcohol: 14.5%.

CE’s rating: 90/100.

Cabernet Sauvignon 2019
Price: R315
Matured for 18 months in barrel, 50% new. Red and black berries, some leafiness, a hint of earth and pencil shavings on the nose while the palate shows pure fruit, bright acidity and firm but not coarse tannins, the finish nicely dry. Classically styled, all structural elements in harmony. Alc: 14%.

CE’s rating: 93/100.

The Eleanor 2020
Price: R500
Chardonnay from a single vineyard planted in 1997 to clone CY95. 45% new oak. The nose shows floral perfume and citrus plus hints of vanilla and a light nutty character. The palate has extraordinary depth but equally no shortage of energy, the finish long and savoury. Concentrated with striking freshness.

CE’s rating: 95/100.

The Megan 2017
Price: R600
66% Shiraz, 21% Grenache and 13% Mourvèdre. Matured for 18 months in barrel, 50% new. Red and black berries, some floral perfume, vanilla, pepper and spice on the nose. Full bodied with sweet fruit and a smooth texture, this comes across as plush and polished. Alcohol: 14.5%.

CE’s rating: 92/100.

The Mackenzie 2017
Price: R800
93% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Cabernet Franc and 3% Merlot. Matured for 19 months in barrel, 50% new. Red currant, cassis, violets, some leafiness and pencil shavings on the nose while the palate has beautiful structure – medium bodied with great clarity of fruit, bright acidity and fine-grained tannins, the finish long and dry. An elegant wine (no matter its alcohol of 14.5%) that captures all that is good about this excellent vintage.

CE’s rating: 95/100.

The Stork 2019
Price: R1 000
Shiraz. Grapes from clay-rich soils, matured for 20 months in barrel, and all very heady and opulent. A top note of violets before pepper, vanilla and spice on the nose while the palate is particularly dense – a slight impression of sweetness (alcohol again 14.5%) is offset by bright acidity and firm tannins. Will seduce many.

CE’s rating: 93/100.

Gravel Hill 2017
Price: R1 200
Shiraz. Matured for 19 months in barrel, 60% new. Red and black berries, smoky reduction, fynbos and pepper on the nose while the palate has succulent fruit, bright acidity and fine tannins. This is a powerful wine (alcohol: 14.5%) but it’s simultaneously poised and tightly knit. Full of flavour with a long and reassuringly dry finish.

Price: 95/100.

Check out our South African wine ratings database.


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