“Wine is a sort of interior humour that renders beauty to the face of our thoughts” – Henri de Régnier
How a Bird Inspired a Wine
At Londolozi, it’s not always about leopards and lions, we have a large selection of resident and migratory birds which can be seen at different times during the year. In particular we have up to six different types of storks that can be seen.
Storks are large, long-necked, long-legged birds which wade with long, stout bills. They have no syrinx (vocal organ) and are therefore mute, giving no call, and instead communicate by clattering their bills. Many species are migratory and most storks eat fish, insects, frogs, earthworms and even small birds and mammals. They are heavy birds (weighing up to eight kilograms) with wide wingspans – the Marabou stork has a wingspan of 3.2 meters! They make large nests that may be used for many years; some nests have been known to be in excess of two meters in diameter and three meters in depth.
Storks to seek while visiting us at Londolozi include the Black, Woolly-Necked, White, Yellow-billed, Saddle-billed and Marabou stork.
These long-legged birds tend to fly by soaring and gliding, a method which conserves energy and it is this mode of flight which takes me back to how the Hartenberg Stork Shiraz got its name.
The History of the Stork
Hartenberg is based in Stellenbosch and has a long history. The farm was first settled on by Cunraad Boin and Christoffel Esterhuizzen who were granted permission to work 60 morgen (20 hectares) of the land in 1692. The first thing the two friends did was clear the land to plant 2,000 vines. In 1704, Christoffel Esterhuizzen was granted the title deed to “Het Hartenberg” by Governer Willem Adriaan van der Stel and became the first official owner of the farm. By 1718 he had planted 10,000 vines on the property.
Over the next 250 plus years the farm changed hands numerous times and was owned by the likes of Paul Keyser, a well-known elephant hunter; Jacob van Bochen who also purchased Weltevrede adjoining Hartenberg and the two farms have remained combined, forming Hartenberg as it is today; Arrie Lekkerwyn (Lekkerwyn is Afrikaans for nice wine) and Aaron van Ceylon (a freed slave); Jacobus and Johannes Bosman who sold it to the Hampf family. Mr Hampf became the first officially recorded winemaker on the estate. In 1948 Hartenberg was bought by Dr Maurice Finlayson and his wife, Eleanor. They produced two sons, Peter and Walter, who are now renowned South African winemakers in their own right.
The Next Generation
In 1987 the farm was purchased by Ken Mackenzie, and his daughters today continue a program of investment in the farm, focusing on replanting specific sites to premium varietals, development of production facilities and upliftment through knowledge and skills development for their employees.
It is after Ken Mackenzie that the Hartenberg Stork was named. Ken was a tall and lanky chap with long thin legs. He served as a Spitfire pilot in World War Two where he quickly earned the nickname “Stork”. In honour of him, Hartenberg named their flagship wine made from 100% Shiraz grapes, which was one of Ken’s favourite varietals.
Taste and Aroma
The Hartenberg Stork 2009 is extremely limited and represents a very specific vineyard of Shiraz at the estate which has clay-rich red earth and lies on a south-eastern slope. Due to deeper soils and lower temperatures these grapes ripen a full month later than anywhere else on the estate. On average five or six picks are made from the parcel over two or three weeks, making this an extremely labour intensive wine. The wine has been barrel matured for 21 months on 100% new French oak barrels and can mature beautifully for another 10 years.
From this exquisitely crafted premium wine one can expect rich black fruit flavours, dominated by cherries, crème de cassis and cooked plums with white pepper and violets balancing it out.
Tasting the stork
Hartenberg also has the largest privately owned underground cellar in South Africa. It was commissioned in the late 1980’s and acts as a gallery to twelve artworks by German coppersmith, Karl Heinz Wilhelm. The artworks took two years to complete and describe each of the twelve phases of cultivating and producing wine.
When you next find yourself looking at a stork or visiting us at Londolozi, then remember to try a glass or two of the Hartenberg Stork. The wine is paired beautifully with Anna’s slow cooked lamb, one of Londolozi’s signature dishes, and is best enjoyed in the boma around the glowing flames of a fire.
What do you think is the most beautiful stork? And which shiraz is your favourite? We’d also love to know which country you believe makes the best Shiraz?