Every wine tells a story… This is the motto at Muratie Wine Estate in the beautiful Knorhoek Valley north of Stellenbosch. The century’s old wine experience at Muratie is rich in history and heritage, and stepping into the tasting room is a flashback to a bygone time. Unlike many wineries in Stellenbosch and surrounds, the tasting room has not been modernised, but left as it would have been since its foundation days, creating a charming, rustic and authentically vintage feel; one of the few that achieves this.
The farm dates back to 1685, making it one of the oldest estates in South Africa. Under the stewardship of Rijk Melck and his family, the farm’s history has been revived. Not only has the Muratie label changed, but the wine has seen improvement in quality, making it a fitting and respected contender in the Bourdeaux-blend realm.
At the Muratie harvest festival this year, we enjoyed a vertical tasting of the farm’s Isabella Chardonnay, a comparative tasting of vintages 2013 down to 2008 of the same varietal. A bold move from the estate, the showcase was informative and gave us the opportunity to savour the wine’s progression.
The Ansela van de Caab blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc is a smokey wine that holds the greatest love story, and we were all wooed upon hearing it. For three days Laurens Camphor – a German soldier, and then owner of Muratie – would walk to see the love of his life. Her name was Ansela, a slave girl housed at the Cape Castle, and until her emancipation in 1699 he would walk from the farm to the castle. Ansela van de Caab is named in honour of their memory.
Finally, we rounded off the tasting with the Ronnie Melck Shiraz, a wine that, although lovely on release, reaches its full potential five to eight years later. Our tasting gave us the opportunity to taste the 2011, 2009 and 2007, evidence of its true ageing potential. Both sweet and spicy with strong berry notes, it’s a wine we took to the table to enjoy further (with cheese and fresh baked bread, of course).
Muratie’s harvest season continues until early April, but visit the farm for your own cellar experience and tasting. It really is the most charming blast from the past, with wines that each have their own stories to tell.
Where Knorhoek Road/R44, Koelenhof, Stellenbosch
Trading hours Monday to Sunday, 10 am – 5 pm
Contact +27 21 865-2330/6 , www.muratie.co.za
Photography Lisa Wallace, Courtesy