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The Story behind our 1908 Muscadel

The Rietvallei 1908 Red Muscadel is a unique dessert wine, made from the oldest red Muscadel vineyard in South Africa. The bush vine was planted on the Estate in 1908, by the second generation of the Burger family, and consists of approximately a quarter of a hectare. At more than a 100 years old, these bush vines have an extremely low yield, resulting in an excellent fruit concentration.

Muscadel was the first wine made on the estate and the original Muscadel-making recipe is still used to this day (for many years this hand-written recipe was still nailed behind the cellar door). As passed down through the generations, most of the traditional wine making techniques like the fermentation in open concrete tanks, the wetting of the cap by pushing it down by hand every two hours during fermentation and finally the use of a hand operated basket press, are still followed. You could really say that this wine is hand made.

The bush vines were harvested by hand at 28 °Balling (Brix), and after slight crushing taken to open concrete fermentation tanks. Here it was kept on the skins for two days for colour and flavour extraction. During this time the mash was worked every two hours by means of manual punch down and pump-overs. On day three the must naturally started fermenting and fortification with pure wine spirits was done on the skins. Extra skin contact was then allowed for another two days before racking and pressing. The must was then left on its primary fermentation lees for six months after which it was racked again and allowed to further tank mature for 12 months on the fine lease before bottling. This maturation is essential for the marriage of the spirits and the wine.

Winemaker Kobus describes this delicious dessert wine as deep red in colour, full-bodied, rich, yet gentle. A floral bouquet comes through on the nose, with typical raisiny sweetness and an intense flavour that lingers on the palate and follows through on the aftertaste while the acidity compliments and balances the sweetness. This is a true collector’s item and additional bottle maturation gives excellent results.

When entertaining, this beauty pairs excellently with noble cheeses and almost any dessert. It is delicious with rich chocolate or strawberries & ice cream, but has no qualms to stand on its own and is a perfect companion in front of the fireplace on a chilly evening.

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