Morgenster has been fashioning long-ageing Bordeaux-style reds for almost 2 decades. The launch of their 2012s this week once again reminded us of their incredible consistency, especially when showing their immaculate 2001s, which are not only vibrant, complex and delicious, but they are also still available.
Like the fine wines of Bordeaux, the Morgensters need time to show their true beauty. Each vintage possesses extremely fine tannins, elegance and a deft balance not often found in SA reds. It’s no wonder really, considering they’ve had Pierre Lurton, the director of Cheval Blanc, as the consultant for the last 18 years.
We have highlighted the great 2012 Stellenbosch vintage before and the Morgensters revel in this long, cooler ripening season that was quite similar to 2001. Henry Kotzé has been winemaker since 2010 and has produced excellent 2012s, highlighting the perfume and finesse that Merlot and Cabernet Franc offer when mastered in the right terroir. With scores of up to 94 in the Wine Advocate, as well as their class and longevity, both Morgensters offer serious value for money. In fact, is there a classier red under R200, anywhere?
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Morgenster Lourens River Valley 2012 – R190
This 2012 has the highest ever Cabernet Franc portion (72%) and is a very classic and perfumed expression. The nose is bright, with notes of garrigue, graphite and fresh red berries. Medium bodied and yet intensely flavoured, it shows lovely depth and layers of earthy complexity. The astonishingly fine tannins and detail on the finish give the wine exquisite balance and serious structure for long ageing. It could be the finest LRV yet, needing another 3 or 4 years to integrate; it will age well until 2030. There is hardly a jump in quality to the Reserve and it presents incredible value for money.
Morgenster Reserve 2012 – R395
The Reserve is immediately richer and more broody on the nose, showing some new oak and dark cherry coulis. Merlot dominated in 2012, it is medium to full bodied with further notes of forest floor and roast beef. A high portion of Petit Verdot adds structure and balance to the sweetly fruited Merlot and cassis-laden Cabernet. The tannins are broader and richer than the LRV, suggesting a backward wine that requires ageing. Powerful and yet seamless. Drink 2018 to 2030.
Both 2001s are fully mature with softer tannins and a meaty savouriness, balanced by pure red-berry fruit. Fresh enough to keep for another 5-10 years.
This excellent wine was produced from young (10 or younger) vines, which augurs a bright future for this estate. Fashioned from 55% Merlot, 38% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 7% Cabernet Franc, the 2001 Lourens River Valley reveals a nose of sweet red cherries. Broad, silky, and generous, its medium-bodied character is well-balanced, suave, and elegant. Its red fruit-laden core leads to a finish that displays loads of ripe tannin. Drink it over the next 5 years. – Neal Martin, Wine Advocate, 89/100
Moving on to their top wine, the 2001 Proprietary Red is a blend of 45% Merlot, 27% Cabernet Sauvignon and 27% Cabernet Franc aged for 16 months in 32% new oak. It has a well-defined bouquet with good vigour considering its age, with scents of black peppery fruit, sloe, chestnut and sandalwood. The palate is medium-bodied with a fleshy entry. The texture is supple and fleshy with earthy red fruit and secondary flavours of leather and cooked meat towards the well-knit finish. Drink now-2015. – Neal Martin, Wine Advocate, 89/100