This year's Decanter World Wine Awards International Trophy for the Best in Show Red Bordeaux Varietals under £15 went to Hartenberg, Cabernet Sauvignon, Stellenbosch, South Africa 2010 (14.5%)
- Château Domi-Cours, Bordeaux Supérieur, France 2010
- Fabre Montmayou, Reservado Cabernet Franc, Mendoza, Argentina 2013
- Kilikanoon, Killerman’s Run Cabernet Sauvignon, Clare Valley, South Australia 2012
Runners and riders for this Trophy judging included cracking wines from some of the world’s most iconic regions for red Bordeaux grapes. South Africa came out on top this year, fielding a wine from a region considered the country’s finest for Cabernet Sauvignon.
‘Like Napa is to the US, and Coonawarra is to Australia, Stellenbosch is South Africa’s Cabernet country,’ says Carl Schultz, Hartenberg’s cellarmaster since 1993.
‘Since the late 1960s,’ Schulz explains, ‘the Cabernet Sauvignon of Stellenbosch has consistently been South Africa’s best. Our Cabernet grows on a mix of Table Mountain sandstone, clay-rich, loamy soils and ironstone laterites. Stellenbosch enjoys a Mediterranean climate with warm, dry summers and cold, wet winters, and the 2010 vintage yielded thickskinned, pea-sized berries of intense flavour and colour. Our spring was warm and the vintage hot, providing a very small crop with wonderful extraction and power.’
Hartenberg’s history is a rich one, its winemaking heritage stretching back to 1692. Over the years it has been overseen by a number of charismatic characters including a freed slave, a famed elephant hunter and Arrie Lekkerwyn (the name means Harry Delicious Wine in Afrikaans, and was a corruption of the Frenchman’s real name, Henri l’Ecrevent).
Its star truly began to rise in the 1960s and ’70s under the the Finlayson family. Then in January 1987 it was bought by Ken Mackenzie, whose family are still the owners today. Mackenzie replanted all the vineyards and revamped the cellar and production facilities – and his fierce work ethic is very much alive today. When Schulz was asked about the secret of Hartenberg’s success, he said simply: ‘It’s a dedicated, driven team that is prepared to go the extra mile.’
Written by Decanter