“Celebrating our history through vintage wine” is the theme of the day at Muratie’s first ever Retro Rouge festival.
As it goes on an old farm, Muratie has rediscovered a hideaway of old vintage wines. After extensive sampling by the management team, they have decided to open these gems to the public.
Muratie is rich in heritage, with a wonderful aura wherever you are on the farm of all the generations that have lived and worked there. Situated at the foothills of the Simonsberg, Muratie Wine Estate tells the story of winemaking in South Africa, a history almost as old as the country herself.
The farm itself dates back to 1685 when it was granted by Governor Simon van der Stel who was Governor of the Cape of Good Hope at the time. This makes Muratie one of the oldest estates in South Africa and along with that age comes many characters and truly fascinating stories.
Our journey started with a map in the one hand and a glass in the other, ready to taste and discover old vintage wines. We made our way to Laurens and Ansela’s House.
HISTORY OF LAURENS CAMPHER AND ANSELA VAN DER CAAB
Laurens met and fell in love with Ansela van de Caab, a slave at the Castle in Cape Town where he worked for the Dutch East India Company. He had a deep love for the soil and had always dreamt of becoming a farmer. So, when the Governor of the Cape, Simon van der Stel, granted him tenure of De Driesprong in 1685 (renamed Muratie in 1911), he moved to the farm at the foot of the Simonsberg Mountains.
He frequently walked the 64 kilometres to Cape Town and back, a three day trip, to see his beloved Ansela. This courtship at the Castle continued for 14 years during which time Ansela and Laurens had three children. Eventually Ansela learnt to speak Dutch and was baptised at the Castle, enabling her to be emancipated in 1699, whereupon she and Laurens married and, with their three children, settled on the farm. The oak tree Ansela planted to bless their marriage still stands on Muratie, as does a small white house, their first home, built for them by Laurens.
LAURENS CAMPHER BLENDED WHITE 2013
Lively fresh lemon and lime notes from the Chenin and Sauvignon Blancs are given added interest with fragrant floral hints from the Verdelho and Viognier components. On the palate, the wine is elegant and complex with flavours of honeysuckle, lime marmalade and fresh almonds, all wrapped in creamy oak. Zippy acidity runs through the wine until the eminently satisfying, lengthy finish.
A blend of four varietals to create a uniquely South African wine honouring one of the country’s wine pioneers. It consists of Chenin Blanc, Verdehlo, Viognier and Sauvignon Blanc.
LAURENS CAMPHER BLENDED WHITE 2012
This is a complex wine with honeysuckle aromas leading to a rich, slightly off-dry palate full of dried peach flavours with hints of caramel leading to a long stylish finish.
LAURENS CAMPHER BLENDED WHITE 2011
On the palate, the wine is elegant with fruity flavour with a satisfying lengthy finish.
ANSELA VAN DE CAAB 2014
The nose has bold aromas of cedar wood, cigar box, blackcurrants. The palate delivers with a long finish which develops from fruit to savoury. This wine epitomises balance, with the elegant tannins, fresh acidity and masterly oak treatment all playing their part. A wine to savour and sip with the very finest culinary offerings, or simply to be enjoyed with good friends, worthy of the name.
This wine with its velvety finish is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc.
ANSELA VAN DE CAAB 2006
On the nose, typical cigar box flavours come through with underlying black fruit aromas. The Cabernet Franc binds the Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot together to give you this well-integrated, typical Bordeaux blend.
The flavours and tannins are meticulously woven together to form a totally balanced wine that lingers on in your mouth long after the last drop is savoured.
ANSELA VAN DE CAAB 2002
Certainly kept well and aged gracefully. Still displaying a deep red colour with edges of brown. Elegant nose filled with dark berries, plums, spice and dark chocolate, great well structured palate filled more spice and dark fruit, lengthy savoury finish.
ANSELA VAN DE CAAB 1995
This wine still has a good palate with good concentration of flavours, well balanced acid and firm tannins, giving the wine good backing and enabling the concentrate fruit flavours to come to the fore, and lasting for some time thereafter.
ANSELA VAN DE CAAB 1993
Earthy with dark fruits and coffee flavours Brimming with beautifully ripe fruit and marked by soft tannins. In the mouth, the wine may not possess the body and volume of a vintage such as 2014, but there is more richness of fruit, a sweet, ripe, pureness to the wine, as well as medium body and outstanding balance.
This wine is named after Ansela van de Caab, a child born into slavery. In 1699 the governor of the Cape granted a piece of land to a German, Lourens Campher. He married Ansela after she was freed and together they built a humble house, which still exists, and they planted the first vines on Muratie.
MURATIE CELLAR (Second stop)
Our second stop was at the cellar. Live music from Jack & June fills the air with their unique style and modern interpretation of blues, soul and rock ‘n roll.
Voulez Vous Cafe Food truck was serving sweet and savoury crêpes – from caramelised apples and cream to salmon, cream cheese and herbs. Gluten free options also available.
LADY ALICE MCC ROSÉ
This 100% Pinot Noir is a gorgeous rose-gold in colour that is floral in perfume and elegant in delivery. Bright strawberry, cranberry, and citrus notes are pleasantly underscored by shortbread richness and a creamy mouthfeel.
Named after a true “belle of the ball”, Lady Alice Sarah Stanford, Muratie’s Lady Alice MCC Rosé is intended as a toast to a lady for whom every day was a celebration.
ISABELLA CHARDONNAY 2016
Aromas of pineapples, citrus fruit and a lovely creaminess. The palate burts with flavours of tropical fruits, marmalade, vanilla and has a classical, creamy mouth feel. Long, delectable finish.
The Muratie Isabella Chardonnay honours Isabella Melck, eldest daughter of current custodians Rijk and Kim Melck, who lives on the estate with her family and is already infused with the passion for wine and the land.
CAPE VINTAGE PORT
A bold bouquet of aromas comes forth from this fortified wine, with floral notes of violets, perfume and rose petals. A seamlessly-integrated port which marries alcohol, fruit and acidity into a delicious bundle of flavour – expect plum cake, mulberry fruit and a generous seasoning of perfumed spice. It is well balanced and not too overly sweet.
The Muratie Cape Vintage port is produced from a single vineyard planted in 1965.The vines were planted on a modified Perold trellising system. The different varieties (Tinta Barocca, Tinta Roritz, Tinta Francesca, and Souzao) are all planted in the same block.
WINE TASTING ROOM (Third Stop)
We made our way to the tasting room where the current vintages are displayed.
“Each of our wines has its own personality; with its own enchanting story described on the back label reflecting a tangible sense of time suspended. And there are a myriad stories reaching as far back as the 17th century, making Muratie one of the oldest wineries in the Cape Winelands”, says co-owner Rijk Melck.
GEORGE PAUL CANITZ PINOT NOIR 2016
A combination of liquorice, aniseed, black and red berries on the nose. Smooth, velvety entry opens into an elegant mouthful of fruits, surrounded by oak-induced spice flavours. A fresh lively acidity provides balance to the supply and juicy tannins and the finish is lengthy, changing from fruit through to satisfying truffles and earthiness.
In 1927 Muratie was the first estate to plant Pinot Noir. The owner of the farm, George Paul Canitz, and Professor Perold experimented with Pinot Noir on Muratie. Hence George Paul Canitz’s famous quote: “Muratie Burgundy is a tonic” and “Muratie Burgundy is bottled sunshine, it gladdens the heart and loosens the tongue!”
THE CAB 2015
Dark in colour with a red rim. Complex flavours and aromas of blackberries & dark cherries, spice and dark chocolate. You will also find hints of fresh herbaceous notes, along with tobacco. The palate is well structured with fine oak integration and a lingering finish.
AMBER FOREVER DESSERT WINE
Made from 100% Muscat d’Alexandrie. Aromas of sweet sun-ripened grapes, musk perfume, rose petals and hints of litchis give way to a gently-sweet mouthful of golden raisins, fynbos honey, exotic earthy notes all offset by a crisp acidity which keeps the sweetness in check. Wonderful balance of alcohol with fruit intensity leads through to a long sweet finish.
Muratie’s Amber was first produced by George Paul Canitz in the 1940’s. The name Amber originated from both the colour of the product as well as the novel Forever Amber written by Kathleen Winsor in the 1940’s. This novel is the story of a high class girl who kept some of the British upper class gentleman happy and content in the 1940’s! Hence the quote by Canitz “To happy days and glorious nights, Forever Amber”.
GEORGE CANITZ KNEIPZIMMER
Most of the paintings in the Muratie cellar were painted by George Canitz. Canitz’s art studio, which he built with bricks made on the farm, still stands today, on a terrace next to the tasting centre and overlooking the garden.
George Canitz’s ‘Kneipzimmer’ at Muratie bears testament to the merry parties that took place regularly in this quaint drinking den. It was here that Canitz’s many guests were invited to share his favourite Muratie wines and cover the roof and walls with paintings and writings.
TERRACE WINE BAR (Final stop)
We ended our journey with a taste of rare, sought-after older red vintages. From blended wines to Pinot Noir and Merlot.
MELCK’S RED 2006
The Melck’s Red 2006 is a soft fruity, easy, and accessible red wine with good structured ripe tannins. It’s a blend of Shiraz, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon.
MELCK’S RED 2004
A blend of Shiraz and Merlot. Well balanced with its soft tannins, juicy black fruit and hints of warm spice and chocolate from careful wooding.
Tucked into the exquisite Knorhoek Valley north of Stellenbosch, Muratie Wine Estate, under the stewardship of Rijk Melck and his family. A drink-with-everything type of wine.
PINOT NOIR 2007
Dark strawberry red, exceptional for Pinot Noir. Decadent and fresh cherries dominate the nose with slight forest floor characteristics creeping through. Good balance between the ripe fruit tannin and alcohol. The oak is integrated and supports the wine to ensure a delicate yet long finish.
PINOT NOIR 2004
Smooth flavours of raspberries and cherries – surrounded by oak-induced spice flavours. A fresh lively acidity provides balance to the supply and juicy tannins and the finish is lengthy.
PINOT NOIR 2003
It has a typical Pinot Noir nose, focusing on berry fruit like juniper berries and raspberries.The texture is elegant with a great acidity and a soft support of the oak ageing. The wine has a very good structure.
PINOT NOIR 2001
Transluscent bright ruby in colour. Slight tawny-ruby rim. Medium bodied with bright, clean fruit flavours of red berries & cherries. The taste is subtle because of the ageing but still have a great finish.
PINOT NOIR 2000
The wine is drinking fabulously now with a purity and transparency in its palate and great mouthfeel. As the wines age you get the ripeness of the fruit showing clearly and the stem character is starting to reveal the fungal and forest floor characters.
PINOT NOIR 1999
Straight from the glass the colour displays murky compared to the previous vintage tasted. The wine exhibits developed character on the nose, some oxidation, and forest floor. This wine aged well and it is still smooth with a delicious finish. We also tasted vintages from 2007, 2004, 2003, 2001 and 2000.
It is said that Professor Perold took cuttings of Muratie Pinot Noir to cross with Hermitage (Cinsault) to create Pinotage that is well known today by many South Africans.
ALBERTA ANNEMARIE MERLOT 2010
The aromas give way to elegant flavours of black fruits matched with rich and savoury notes of liquorice and spicy tannins. A richly-layered wine with plenty of backbone and structure.
The Story George Paul Canitz and his daughter Annemarie were out horseback riding. Closer to the truth – they were lost. But that’s how they discovered Muratie and fell instantly in love with it. Annemarie shared her father’s love of fine wines (and horses) and when she inherited Muratie, this tireless, independent woman became one of the first female wine-farm owners in the country. She never changed a thing on her father’s farm – and rode horses well into her 80s only stopping, she said, “because the horse is too old”.
ALBERTA ANNEMARIE MERLOT 2008
Well-balanced with plums and herbs aromas. Round in the mouth, velvety tannins with leather flavours and elegant aftertaste.
MURATIE MERLOT 2003
For a 2003 wine it still has berry aromas along with other interesting aged flavors of dried strawberries and dried leaves. There is a drop in acidity and tannin in the wine as well as fruit characteristics changing from fresh and tart fruits to more dried or stewed fruits. A lot of sediment was displayed in the glass.
MARTIN MELCK CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2013
This Cabernet Sauvignon expresses concentrated dark fruit such as black cherries, berries and plum which are underscored by cedar wood and spice.
MARTIN MELCK CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2008
This wine displays rich cedarwood, cigar box and blackcurrant notes on the nose and lingering savoury tapenade, cassis and sandalwood flavours on the palate.
Muratie Martin Melck Cabernet Sauvignon Martin Melck, a man of faith, hope and charity, who was one of the Cape’s greatest landowners and farmers. He bought De Driesprong (Muratie) in 1763 for his daughter, Anna Catharina. The Melcks built the manor house at Muratie and kept the farm in the Melck-Beyers family for close to a century.
MURATIE CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2005
For a 14 year old wine, the colour still displays a deep ruby. On the nose you get violets and mint mixed with layers of berries and hints of cedar-wood and typical cigar box. Great balance and integration of fruit and oak. The wine has a strong mid palate and offers a full, lingering aftertaste. A great example of how well a wine age gracefully.
MURATIE FARM KITCHEN
There was some delicious food to eat and nibble on. We ordered some Beef Samoosas and a delicious bowl of hearty Butter Chicken that went well after tasting a selected range of delectable vintage wines. It was definitely a celebration of history through vintage wines.
Tel: 021 865 2330