Some of the best memories I’ve made has been over a shared bottle of Muratie wine, or under the ancient oaks on this historical estate as we clinked glasses in the sun.
Over the years I’ve realised that Muratie is a lifestyle. It’s more than a collection of excellent wines, or a wine farm that offers food and wine tastings. When you invest in a bottle of Muratie wine, you are not only buying into a lifestyle philosophy, but also into a family steeped in tradition.
Like the branches of a family tree reaching back to centuries before, so does the lineage of the Melck family spread through the Muratie legacy and runs freely into their wines. I’ve become incredibly fond of Muratie over the years. I gravitate towards the honesty of their wines, the generosity of the Melck family and the absolute feeling of joy when I visit the estate.
Between the throes and restrictions of lock-down, Kim Melck personally dropped a stunning care package at my gate, from a distance of course! I was childishly excited to receive a bottle of their Martin Melck Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 and the Ronnie Melck Shiraz 2016. As if that was not generous enough, I also received a few goodies from their deli, filled with farm freshness.
Every wine tells a story. This is the motto at Muratie, the historic estate tucked away in the beautiful Knorhoek Valley north of Stellenbosch, in the premium Simonsberg wine ward. Established in 1685, Muratie is one of the oldest farms in South Africa, rich in history and heritage.
And with this age comes a myriad fascinating tales of the many extraordinary characters from the farm’s colourful past. All of these have been proudly commemorated in the naming and labeling of Muratie’s wines. But it is the Melck family, current custodians of Muratie, whose name and stories have been inextricably linked with Muratie dating all the way back to the 1700’s. This esteemed legacy spanning 167 years to date is recalled when you sip on the Martin Melck Cabernet Sauvignon and Ronnie Melck Shiraz (press release).
Martin Melck Cabernet Sauvignon 2015
Muratie honours Martin Melck, a man of faith, hope and charity by naming both their Cabernet Sauvignons after him.
Tasting notes: concentrated dark fruit (black cherries, berries and plums) underscored by fresh acidity and framed by cedar wood and spice from 20 months in French oak.
In the vineyard: The Muratie Cabernet Sauvignon was made from three different blocks on the estate. The vines were planted in 1993 and 1998.
In the cellar: Matured in 10% new French Oak for 20 months.
Cellar door price: approx. R200 per bottle
Ronnie Melck Shiraz 2016
Rijk’s dad very often had a Shiraz in his glass, so they dedicated both their Shiraz wines to him.
Tasting notes: A polished wine, from its silky tannins to its dark wood spice, it oozes black plum and mulberry fruit that is succulent without being jammy. There are violets on the nose, dark chocolate too, but lasting impressions are of pleasingly savoury, from black pepper to smoked meats.
In the vineyard: 100% Shiraz
In the cellar: matured for 16 months in 100% French oak barrels (20% new)
Cellaring potential: Soft and voluptuous enough to be enjoyed on release, it has the structure to start reaching its full potential after about five years.
Cellar door price: approx. R190 per bottle
Honey cake and deli deliciousness
Although my immediate thought was to pair these red beauties with hearty, wintery stews, my mind repeatedly wandered back to the golden jar of Muratie honey I received. It reminded me of the beehives we kept on the farm when I was a child. I could almost smell the warm honey-cake as my dad scraped it from the frames into a plastic basin. I would immediately claw at chunks of gooey honey-cake. I chewed it with closed eyes until there were only little bundles of wax left over, the intensely fragrant fynbos honey burning the back of my throat.
It was in that moment that I instinctively knew I had to make a dark chocolate and honey cake to pair with the legacy of Muratie wines.
Dark chocolate and honey cake
- 125 gr butter, softened
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 2 eggs, room temperature
- 3/4 cup Muratie honey
- 1.5 cups self-raising flour
- 1/2 cup unsweetened, organic cocoa powder
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1 cup icing sugar
- 1/2 cup unsweetened, organic cocoa powder
- 1/4 cup Muratie honey
- 1 tbsp hot water
- Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease and line a 3cm deep, 16cm x 25cm brownie pan with baking paper.
- Beat butter and sugar until creamy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating after each. Add honey. Beat well.
- Sift flour and cocoa over butter mixture. Fold into butter mixture until combined. Stir in milk until combined. Spoon into pan. Smooth surface. Bake for 30 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Stand in pan for 5 minutes. Turn onto a wire rack to cool.
- Make chocolate icing: Sift sugar and cocoa into a bowl. Combine honey and water. Stir into dry ingredients until smooth. Cut cake into squares. Drizzle icing over cake. Serve.
I decorated the cake with mint and basil sprigs from the garden and enjoyed it with copious glasses of red. The Tall Hedonist had some trouble keeping his hands to himself, and I found him eating the cake straight from the serving tray! The chocolate and honey icing is incredibly indulgent, oozing down the sides of this dense and moody cake. Glossy, rich and an absolute showstopper, it’s pure hedonism in all the right ways.
Hold the things that feel like sunshine closest to your heart. At Muratie, it always feels like summer. Every bottle is filled with love, legacy, tradition and humble odes to those who came before us, acknowledging the roots they left behind for us to grow and nurture.
Thank you so much, Muratie, for this precious reminder of all the good in life, as we raise a glass or three to the Melck family.
Disclaimer: I was given this product(s) as part of a press drop in exchange for my honest and truthful opinion and review thereof. All thoughts and opinions expressed herein are solely those of The Little Hedonist, given in good faith and in no way influenced by the company or its affiliates. All images, unless otherwise stated / credited, are also my own.
The Little Hedonist endorses responsible drinking.
Don’t drink and drive. Not for persons under 18.