New releases at Middelvlei

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Middelvlei, the celebrated wine estate owned by the Momberg family, located in the upper reaches of prime wine area Devon Valley, on the outskirts of Stellenbosch, have launched the latest vintages of two of their most popular wines – the pioneering Middelvlei Pinotage Merlot 2007 and their only white, the Middelvlei Chardonnay 2008, its 15th vintage.

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Middelvlei Estate was the first SA winery to combine pinotage, South Africa’s home-grown variety, with one of the Bordeaux classics. Easy-drinking, yet multi-dimensional, this red wine, a blend of roughly equal proportions of pinotage and merlot, has flourished in Middelvlei’s new era of enhanced fruit, particularly from fairly recent plantings of merlot. This, says winemaker Tinnie Momberg, has not only added complexity, but also improved the blend’s immediate drinkability.

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The components come from 24 hectares of pinotage, planted in 1962, 1975 and 1996, and six hectares of young merlot, established in 2001. Fermented separately in open tanks with four days of skin contact, followed by malolactic fermentation, the wines were then matured in second-fill barrels (85% French oak and 15% American oak) for 12 months. This was followed by final blending and bottling. The result is a richly aromatic wine (plums, blackcurrants, with a touch of spiciness), with concentrated berry flavours and firm, ripe tannins. This medium-bodied wine is structured yet soft, and a refreshingly low alcohol of 13.6% enhances its appeal.

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Chardonnay is the only white wine made by Middelvlei, and the 2008 vintage, like its predecessors, aims for versatility. It’s made from hand-picked fruit selected from just five of the Estate’s 21 hectares devoted to chardonnay. All previous vintages were lightly wooded, but to enhance the freshness, wood was shelved for the 2008 vintage, although, to add body to the wine, it did spend time on its lees and went through malolactic fermentation. The wine is marked by plenty of fresh fruit (peach and guava) in an elegant overall package. From just 140 cases of the maiden 1994 ?+¦-+???+¦-ú?-¦?+¦-ú?+¦+¦ the family consumed half! ?+¦-+???+¦-ú?-¦?+¦-ú?+¦+¦ production has now grown to about 2 000 cases a year, led by strong consumer demand.

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Like all Middelvlei’s wines, these latest two vintage releases provide excellent value. The Middelvlei Pinotage Merlot 2007 retails at approximately R60 a bottle, and the Middelvlei Chardonnay 2008 at approximately R48 a bottle.

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A wonderful wine estate to visit

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Middelvlei, in addition to winetasting, offers visitors cellar tours and barrel tastings, vineyard walks and small conference facilities., Bookings in advance are preferable., Middelvlei is very family-orientated and this is evident in their large family of animals resident on the farm., Most of the animals have wine names, such as: the two donkeys – Port and Jerepigo; Ruby the Jack Russell; the Blumenweilers – Chianti and Ros+¬; the Dachshunds – Pinotage and Pongr?+¦???+¦?+¦-ú?+¡cz; Tinta the Great Dane; Pontac the Boerboel and Malbec, the aptly named, vociferous Ridgeback.

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Middelvlei Estate is open for wine tasting and sales: Weekdays & Saturdays 10h00 ?+¦-+???+¦-ú?-¦?+¦-ú?+¦+¦ 16h30.

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