There are two sides to the glorious classical wine estate that is Morgenster, and I am heading for the wilder side. Corius Visser, farm manager, shifts the bakkie into four-wheel drive and heads up into the hillside of Schapenberg, the famous vineyard-growing region on the Somerset-West side of Stellenbosch wine country.
Despite all this talk of over-supply in a cluttered wine market bursting at the seams with 7 000 labels, there can always be something more. Why so few white Bordeaux blends, for example? Good ones. Sure, many wine-makers broaden their Sauvignon Blanc with a whack of Sémillon. But focussed and harmonious combinations of these two stunning grape varieties are relatively few and far between.
South African Merlot gets a lot of bad press, mainly because of some fourth-hand message alluding to the grape’s greenness and inability to ripen properly in this neck of the woods. Someone mentioned this somewhere, it sounded quotable and opinionated, so after having gone viral the skewed assumption has been taken as gospel. It is, of course, not worth the Chinese iPhone knock-off it was mentioned on.