De Morgenzon
Impressive wines from this revitalized Stellenbosch (South Africa) winery


De Morgenzon is a beautifully situated Stellenbosch estate, with vineyards ranging from 200–400 m, on the slopes  of the Ribbokkop. It was bought in 2003 by Wendy and Hylton Appelbaum, and since then it has risen to become one of Stellenbosch’s star properties. In particular, the De Morgenzon Reserve Chenin Blanc is one of South Africa’s leading examples of this variety, in my opinion at least. The reds are also impressive, and I’d expect the wines here to keep getting better given the team involved.

Winemaking here has been in the hands of Carl Van de Merwe (above) since 2010. Previously, he’d been winemaker at Quoin Rock. Quoin Rock were making excellent wines, but some financial issues meant that they were put on the market, and Wendy Appelbaum bought Quoin Rock’s vineyards and winery at auction. But it turns out that the auction house, Auction Alliance, were doing some shady ghost bidding, and they picked the wrong person to try to diddle. Wendy has been hugely successful in business and is one of the wealthiest women in South Africa, and she took on Auction Alliance CEO Rael Levitt, and won, exposing the corrupt practices that were being employed. Someone else ended up buying Quoin Rock.

ne peculiarity is that De Morgenzon pipe classical music through their vineyard 24 hours a day. They state that this is because this helps with the ripening process, and explain the reasoning behind this here on their website. Hylton Appelbaum clearly likes the music, though: among other interests he is the owner of Classic FM South Africa, which he founded in 1997.


De Morgenzon DMZ Sauvignon Blanc 2012 Western Cape, South Africa
A blend of Elgin, Durbanville and Stellenbosch  fruit. Fresh, aromatic and quite perfumed with tropical and citrus fruits. The palate is fresh and nicely grassy and green with a lively, precise personality. 90/100 (09/12)

De Morgenzon DMZ Sauvignon Blanc 2012 Western Cape, South Africa
Fresh, lively and precise with nice lemon and grapefruit characters. Rounded and lively with nice weight. 90/100 (09/13)

De Morgenzon DMZ Chardonnay 2012 Western Cape, South Africa
Lively, focused and fresh with some citrus and white peach notes. Nice weight; lively. 89/100 (09/13)

De Morgenzon DMZ Chardonnay 2012 Western Cape, South Africa
Lightly wooded plus some fermented in Nomblot eggs, partial malolactic fermentation. Rounded texture with fresh fruit and a bit of spice. Nice purity. 88/100 (09/12)

De Morgenzon Maestro White 2012 Stellenbosch, South Africa
A blend of Chenin, Chardonnay, Roussanne and Viognier. Rich, textured and lively with lovely fruit: bold pear and peach notes with some spice. It’s rich and creamy but it still has good definition. 92/100 (09/13)

De Morgenzon DMZ Chenin Blanc 2012 Stellenbosch, South Africa
Rounded, lively and fruity with fresh apple, pear and white peach fruit. Very pure. 88/100 (09/13)

De Morgenzon Reserve Chenin Blanc 2012 Stellenbosch, South Africa
Ripe, bold and richly textured with lovely pear and peach fruit, as well as notes of ripe apples and herbs. Attractive spicy intensity. Concentrated and rich yet fresh. 94/100 (09/13)

De Morgenzon Reserve Chenin Blanc 2011 Stellenbosch, South Africa
41 year old vines which were originally bush vines but which have been lifted to a one-layer trellis. 30% new oak, as well as some foudres. Natural ferment. Fresh, complex and intense with lovely precision and good acidity. Pear, nuts and spice with some honeyed sweetness. Rich yet fresh. 93/100 (09/12)

De Morgenzon Reserve Chenin Blanc 2009 Stellenbosch, South Africa
Fresh, vivid and fine with some nutty intensity. Grapefruit and herb notes as well as some warmth. The palate is textured and broad yet retains freshness, and is evolving very nicely. Lovely melon, pear and apple fruit. 94/100 (09/12)

De Morgenzon Garden Vineyards Rosé 2013 Western Cape, South Africa
Pale pink in colour. Lovely textured, rounded cherry and plum fruit. Nice weight with subtlety of flavour and appealing texture. Refined. 90/100 (09/13)

De Morgenzon DMZ Syrah 2011 Stellenbosch, South Africa
88% Syrah, 20% whole bunch. Fresh and focused with attractive ripe cherry fruit. Pure and expressive with some raspberry notes and good definition, as well as some fresh pepperiness. 92/100 (09/13)  

De Morgenzon Maestro Red 2011 Stellenbosch, South Africa
A Bordeaux-style blend with five different varieties. Lovely fresh, vivid nose is pure and fresh, with elegant blackcurrant fruit and a hint of chalk. So fresh and vivid on the palate, which is bright and focused with pure, well defined fruit. 94/100 (09/12)

De Morgenzon Maestro Red 2011 Stellenbosch, South Africa
A Bordeaux blend, led by Merlot. Lovely fresh black fruits. Pure, lively and expressive with blackcurrant and blackberry. Nice weight and purity with some grippy structure. 93/100 (09/13)

Wines tasted as indicated (day/month)  
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