Middelvlei Wine Estate (Stellenbosch)
On the outskirts of Stellenbosch, one of South Africa's most picturesque towns and hub of the Cape's wine industry, a winding cobblestone driveway leads the visitor to Middelvlei Wine Estate. This beautiful estate has been the home of the Momberg family since 1919. While second generation owner Stiljan Momberg still maintains his inspirational presence, today the commitment of his sons, Tinnie (winemaker) and Ben (vineyard manager) ensures the excellent quality of each vintage.
The Middelvlei range consists of a Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinotage, Shiraz, Pinotage/Merlot and Chardonnay. The second label range is called Hagelsberg and is mainly produced for the export market. The products are Hagelsberg Merlot Pinotage, Hagelsberg Robyn (a blend of four varieties), Hagelsberg Merlot, Hagelsberg Classic Red (an unwooded Pinotage) and Hagelsberg Stellenbosch Red (a blend of Merlot and Pinotage).
The estate covers 160 ha of which 130 are planted with Pinotage, Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Tinta Barocca, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay. The main soil types are Hutton and Clovelly - both particularly moisture-retentive and therefore obviating the need for irrigation. Under Ben's watchful eye the mature vineyards are kept in prime condition, while new plantings are carefully selected in terms of suitability to the terroir.
Built in 1941, the Middelvlei cellar was extended in 1999 by the addition of a maturation facility for 900 small barrels. Although Tinnie shares his father's firm belief in traditional winemaking methods, the cellar boasts a combination of both traditional equipment and new technology.
New equipment includes a destemmer/crusher that gently removes the stems and crushes the berries to minimize hard tannins in the wine. Another new addition is a mash cooler to cool down the crushed berries before the fermentation process, therefore better preserving the fruit flavours. The wine is fermented in traditional open cement tanks, after which the malolactic fermentation process takes place in closed cement tanks.
After the second fermentation process, the wine is taken to the oak maturation cellar where it matures in oak barrels for a period varying between 12 months and 26 months, depending on the variety and style. About 80% of the barrels are made of French oak and 20% of American oak. A combination of new, second and third fill barrels are used.
To view more wine estates in the region see Bottelary Hills Wine Estates or see South Africa Wine Estates for a general overview and links to other wine producing regions.
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