Since it was established in 1692 Hartenberg Estate has always had very high standards of winemaking. This reluctance to compromise must come with the terroir and for the current cellar master Carl Schultz, who has been at the farm for over 20 years now, only the best will do. The winery occupies its own valley in the Bottelary Hills in the Stellenbosch region. The Mediterranean climate, cool breezes channelled down the valley from the ocean and poor gravelly soils are perfect for grape growing. As a leading member of the Biodiversity and Wine Initiative in South Africa, Hartenberg have established various initiatives to protect the 170 hectares of natural wetland on the farm; to encourage the natural harmony and health in the vines and a sustainable future for the land. The Hartenberg social commitment is equally valued with sponsored crèche facilities and adult literacy classes provided for the 45 permanent cellar and vineyard staff.
The white wines at Hartenberg offer pure, clean fruit and are elegant and terroir-driven. The Riesling is planted on clay-rich soils and harvested entirely by hand. With 25 % of the grapes showing signs of Botrytis, this wine boasts stone fruit aromas, honeyed petrol notes, lanolin and a vibrant acidity. Fermented sur lie and aged for 11 months in French oak (32% new), the Chardonnay has a wonderful vanilla, lemon/lime flavour with savoury complexity and goes unbelievably well with ceviche of salmon.
As for the reds, the Cabernet Shiraz is one of the best value wines in South Africa and is made from 60% Cabermet Sauvignon, 24% Shiraz, 16% of Merlot, Malbec, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc. A rich and fruity wine with peppery notes. Aged for 18 months in 60% new oak, the Cabernet is a ripe and juicy red with truffle and forest floor savoury aromas. The award-winning Shiraz, the variety that made Hartenberg famous, is spicy and elegant with perfumed violet aromas. The Stork Shiraz is named after Ken Mackenzie who overhauled winemaking at Hartenberg from 1986; he was nicknamed “The Stork” by his World War Two fighter pilot friends because of his long legs! Aged for 21 months in 100% new French Oak Barrels, The Stork perfect for Shiraz-lovers – rich and decadent with silky smooth, velvety tannins and violet, cherry fruit. Finally Gravel Hill, the first single vineyard Shiraz produced in South Africa, was initially crafted exclusively for the Cape Winemaker’s Guild auction and is now the longest running wine in the history of the Guild. This is a classy terroir-driven red with liquorice spiced black fruit and smoky character.