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The Stellenbosch Wine Route
The wines of Hartenberg Estate

PO Box 69, Koelenhof 7605, South Africa
Tel: +27 21 865 2541 Fax: +27 21 865 2153
E-mail: info@hartenbergestate.com
Website: www.hartenbergestate.com

Hartenberg is a historic Stellenbosch estate founded way back in 1692, which has been under the present ownership since 1987. One of its claims to fame is that it is perhaps the last estate to produce a varietal Pontac (a rare red grape), although this a somewhat of a rarity now as the vines arenít very productive and are in danger of being grubbed up. Itís also one of the few (the only?) South African wineries making a Zinfandel. The estate is quite large by any standards, 170 ha in total with 110 ha under vine. Apparently there are nine different soil types in various parts of the estate, and the vineyards have undergone extensive replanting in recent years to try to match the right varieties to the right soil types. Viticulturalist Frans Snyman makes use of input from computerized weather stations spread throughout the vineyards, and is committed to integrated pest management, a strategy that aims to target spraying to just when and where it is really needed.

The operations in the winery are also state of the art, with lots of new gleaming stainless steel and an annual purchase each year of some 400 new French oak barrels. Chief winemaker is Carl Schultz. The investment here is paying off, because quality is of a very good standard overall. The tasting room reception was friendly enough, although Iím not sure whether the two ladies staffing it knew quite what to make of a customer who took such extensive notes and asked so many questions (I deliberately neglected to tell them that I was wine trade).

Hartenberg is one of the Estates that is belongs to the Bottelary Wine Route, which runs along the M23 to the northwest of the region. Itís an association of 13 producers, includig Kaapzicht and Beyerskloof, who I also visited on this trip.

Prices are given in Rands (approx 12 R = £1)

Hartenberg Estate Chatillon 2001
A Semillon/Chenin Blanc blend, this is quite fruity with nice sweet-tinged fruit flavours and good acidity. Nice commercial style. Good/very good  (R21)

Hartenberg Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2001
Quite approachable with an acidic edge. A ripe, almost tropical fruit style. Good/very good  (R29)

Hartenberg Estate Chardonnay 2000
Fermented and aged in a mix of new and second fill oak barrels. No malolactic fermentation. Lovely nutty nose is very refined with bready, yeasty notes. Lovely nutty palate with good balance. Very appealing style with fresh acidity. Very good+ (R40.50)

Hartenberg Estate Weisser Riesling 2001
Lovely spicy nose: quite rich and honeyed, with a bit of sweetness. Some residual sugar on the palate but lovely and fresh. Quite full textured, this is a rich, spicy white. Very good+ (R21)

Hartenberg Estate Zinfandel 1998
Very sweet herby nose, which is appealing with a touch of tarriness. The palate is herby and savoury with some spicy structure and a sweet American(?) oak edge. Very good+ (R39)

Hartenberg Estate Pinotage 2001
First release of this wine. Sweet curranty nose shows ripe berry fruit with a spicy edge. Appealing and forward in a commercial style. Very good (R55)

Hartenberg Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2000
Very minty black fruits dominate the nose which also carries a touch of greenness, together with some nice leafy spiciness. The palate is tannic and firm Ė well structured and appealing. Very good+ (R62.50)

Hartenberg Estate Merlot 2000
Ripe blackcurrant fruit on the nose with a slightly leafy edge. Lovely concentrated, pure palate with black fruits dominating. Appealing stuff. Very good+ (R68)

Hartenberg Estate Shiraz 2000
Sweetly spiced nose leads to a big, slightly sweet-fruited, structured palate with lots of spiciness. Very full, rich and appealing. Very good+ (R78)

Other reports to follow from the Stellenbosch wine route:

See also: 

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