There was something missing from the Morgenster vertical tasting today. And I’m not talking Malbec, which is conspicuous by its absence from the crafty Bordeaux blends of Merlot, Cabernets Sauvignon and Franc and Petit Verdot they use in the wine. Nor am I talking Angela in her saggy green track suit bottoms, Toothy Tim, Xtian, the Snatch or any of the other high profile tasters an invitation from Morgenster winkles out of the woodwork but who were curiously AWOL today.
The heart of Morgenster, Giulio Bertrand, was missing. Kept overnight in a Cape Town hospital for “observation” after a “procedure.” Get well soon, Giulio, for the old place just isn’t the same without you.
We already knew the 2003 Morgenster would be the star of the show after tasting it blind for GQ Magazine at the Taj Classic Wine Trophy show last month where it came first by the proverbial country mile. The wine is simply amazing and follows a recipe of 39% Cabernet Sauvignon, 31% Cabernet Franc and 30% Merlot, confirming that while Pomerol has its appeal, St. Julien is the way forward for this property. So new winemaker Henry Kotze, leave dem dials alone!
The food too was different with the traditional sit-down lunch replaced by morsels to mingle with. Like these mini buns (above). As Greg Landman pointed out, all that was missing was the Hindu half-inch. Tasters were seated in growths like they do in Bordeaux. The first growths were headed up by Willem Kool or should I say Stan Huygens, gossip columnist of De Telegraaf.
I was a fourth growth, a bit like Château Beychevelle, which is the style Morgenster should aim for. Guilio, a cashmere mogul, started out trying to make a cashmere wine like Château Cheval Blanc which is why Pierre Lurton (above) was engaged. In a remarkable aside, Pierre vouchsafed that Cheval is not a Cabernet Franc at all but rather made from Bouchet, an old clone of Franc he’s doing his best to propagate.
Morgenster is remarkably well suited to Italian food. This is obviously on account of the Giulio connection but also as the Cabernet has a spicy tomato flavour, arrabiata almost. Which works wonderfully well with umami-max Parmesan like the wheels of cheese Giorgio Nava brought along.