Winery releases the latest vintage of this rare and outstanding wine
Stellenbosch Hills marks an auspicious year having just released its latest vintage Muscat de Hambourg. It was 30 years ago that the celebrated winery first produced the wine, South Africa’s only contemporary version bottled as a single cultivar.
The Stellenbosch Hills Muscat de Hambourg 2018 shows an alluring ruby-amber hue – the colour of a sunset. Aromas of cherries and berries are accompanied by a note of Turkish delight that rolls through to a zesty palate where it is joined by the taste of sweet spice. The finish lingers long after the last sip.
“This wine has a something of a dual personality, like a superhero,” says cellarmaster PG Slabbert. “It’s often pigeonholed in a style, but the first sip is a revelatory surprise: a wine packed with bold flavour, complexity and elegance.”
Stellenbosch Hills is only one of two commercial South African producers of Muscat de Hambourg, but the only winery to bottle it as a single cultivar wine. The vineyard was originally planted in 1987 but had to be replaced in 2001. Today, the trellised vines cover just less than one hectare.
Developed in Germany, Muscat de Hambourg is a cultivar derived from a cross of Muscat d’Alexandrie and Frankenthal. Stellenbosch Hills makes the wine in a Jerepigo style, which means fortifying the unfermented grape juice with wine spirit.
“Sweeter wines have a loyal following in South Africa and are often the starting point for many newcomers to wine,” says Stellenbosch Hills winemaker James Ochse. “We often have visitors to the tasting room who eagerly share their nostalgia of the Muscat de Hambourg; everyone has a story.
“It’s truly something special, because of its rarity in South Africa and so part of our winery,” he adds.
The Muscat de Hambourg 2018 is in its prime now, but will continue to improve with bottle maturation over the coming four to five years.
It is not just heavenly in the glass, chilled or served on crushed ice, but over vanilla ice cream and strawberries too.
The 2018 Muscat de Hambourg sells for R65/bottle and is available from the winery and its website and reputable stores and restaurants countrywide.
The cellar is located at the intersection of the R310 and Vlottenburg Road, just outside Stellenbosch. It is open Monday to Friday, 09h00 – 17h00; and, Saturdays: 10h00 – 15h00; and, closed on public holidays.
For more information, visit www.stellenbosch-hills.co.za.
Remember to share your Stellenbosch Hills tasting experiences and tag Stellenbosch on Facebook, Twitter (@STBHills) and Instagram (@stellenbosch_hills).