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The wines of Morgenhof Estate, Stellenbosch, South Africa

Morgenhof is one of the unsung heroes of the South African wine scene. We donít hear a lot about them in the UK, but their fantastic range doesnít really put a foot wrong. The entry-level Fantail wines are tasty as well as being commercially astute, and all the estate wines are pretty smart. For more backgrond on Morgenhof, see an earlier review of their wines, and also an account of dinner with Rianie Strydom, who used to be winemaker here.

Fantail Pinotage 2003
Lovely bright brambly wine with vivid fruit and a rustic Pinotage edge. Simple but tasty. Very good/excellent 86/100

Fantail Merlot 2002
Fresh chalky edge to the bright black fruits on the nose. Nice chewy spicy fruit on the palate. Nice savoury finish. Very good+ 86/100

Morgenhof Brut Reserve 2001
Fresh, slightly herby, bready nose to this fizz. Quite a full flavoured, appealing palate with lots of interest. Very good+ 88/100

Morgenhof Chenin Blanc 2005
From 35 year old vines, this is a winner. Lovely herby, savoury straw-like toasty nose with a smoky edge. The palate is broad and rich with wonderfully integrated oak and delicious herby fruit. The 5 g/litre residual sugar gives a nice texture without making the wine sweet. A food wine. Very good/excellent 92/100

Morgenhof Sauvignon Blanc 2004
Quite rich, but with nice grassiness too. The palate is classy with a nice smooth texture. Quite expressive. Very good/excellent 90/100

Morgenhof Chardonnay 2003 
This spends 6 months in French oak. Classy nose is rich and yet restrained at the same time, with balanced tropical fruit notes and subtle oak. The palate is bold and full with lovely richness of fruit and good acidity. Very impressive. Very good/excellent 92/100

Morgenhof Cabernet Sauvignon 2002
Classy, spicy nose shows an earthy, spicy edge to the red and black fruits. Quite a serious palate with a spicy, minerally edge to the blackcurrant fruit. Delicious, with an old-world character. Very good/excellent 91/100

Morgenhof Premiere Selection 2000
Serious and quite restrained on the nose with a savoury, spicy undercurrent: not totally fruit dominated. The palate is quite dense and full with lovely texture to the ripe berry fruits and a mineralic edge. Very good/excellent 92/100

Morgenhof LBV 1999
This Port-style wine shows sweet red fruits with a spicy edge. Sweet, soft, dense and spicy. Nice character in an easy-drinking style. Very sweet. Very good+ 87/100

wines tasted February 2005 

see also: the wineanorak's guide to South African wines

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