MORGENSTER WINE & OLIVE ESTATE
THE PIEDMONT CONNECTION
300 years ago the family of the first owner of Morgenster, Jacques Malan, hailed from Piedmont. Today the farm has come full circle and is once again owned by another settler from Piedmont, Italy named Giulio Bertrand, who purchased Morgenster in 1992 as a retirement home to spend a couple of months a year.
“WHERE THERE IS QUALITY, THERE IS NO COMPROMISE”, Giulio Bertrand
“All my life, I have was in textiles, making only the very best quality wool and cashmere. In the mid ’70s I built two factories in South Africa, and traveled many times a year to this beautiful country”, says Bertrand. It is his appreciation of the country, its climate and lifestyle that led to the decision to purchase a retirement home here and ultimately the birth of the Morgenster brand.
GUESS I’M NOT READY TO RETIRE
Preserving the beautiful historic buildings and restoring the manor house, Bertrand fell under the spell of the hill in his back yard which reminded him strongly of his native Italy. He undertook a systematic mapping of the farm’s terroir and learnt that he was sitting on exceptional land that could produce wine and olives of extraordinary quality. Putting retirement on hold, and with a lifelong philosophy of producing only the best, he set out to produce world class Bordeaux-styled wine and the highest quality Italian -style extra virgin olive oil.
TIES TO CHEVAL BLANC
In 1994 Bertrand travelled to Bordeaux to source the expertise he required. He found a new friend in Pierre Lurton of Chateau Cheval Blanc and enticed him to visit Morgenster. Pierre too was captivated by the magic of Morgenster and has consulted to the Estate ever since. He serves on the Board of Directors and visits the farm at least once each year; to influence critical decisions.
A UNIQUE VINTAGE COLLECTION
Part of Bertrand’s original brief to Lurton was to produce wines that emulate the very best of Bordeaux, that age well with tannins of the Cashmere he knew so well.
Since few wines are cellared for decades, Bertrand knew he had to take on this responsibility if he was to showcase his wines after the benefit of ageing in pristine conditions. After 18 harvests Bertrand has a unique offering of a vertical collection of several vintages of Morgenster Reserve and Lourens River Valley labels in quantities that provide continuity, volume and opportunities to open new markets.
THE ITALIAN COLLECTION
A project close to Bertrand ‘s heart. He dreamed of producing wines in South Africa from typical Italian cultivars, as he so successfully achieved with his Olive Oil. Seeking to produce something special, he imported specific clones from his friends at the University in Italy. Italian passion and flair is world renowned, and is brought together in two of the greatest symbols of this heritage: wine and opera. Nabucco – roo% Nebbiolo , Tosca- Super Tuscan Blend and Caruso- Sangiovese Rose.
IN ITALY, WHERE THERE ARE VINES, THERE ARE OLIVES
South African had no olive oil culture in the early ’90s. To obtain the expertise and knowledge he required of the best practice, Giulio approached the Olive Oil Research Institute of Italy, and together with Prof Fontanazza, they chose 14 different olive cultivars, from all the different regions of Italy, each for their reputation for producing exceptional quality olive oil with discernible attributes. Bertrand imported 2000 trees and established them at Morgenster. It was a little irreverent from any other Italian’s perspective but an inspired decision to blend these oils and create a unique offering. The oil has received international acclaim and more than 10 years of International awards; culminating in 7 years of the top score in the Flos Olei competition- the most recent- 98 points- the highest score achieved, 1 of only 13 producers in the world to achieve this score!
A GUIDING PHILOSOPHY
Morgenster flourishes under the potent mix of Italian and French competence and culture. When Giulio Bertrand first saw Morgenster it was love at first sight. “I have never felt so attracted to a place like I was with Morgenster,” and often says with a twinkle in his eye, “when I first considered farming, I thought to make some good Italian-style olive oil for my salad and some nice wine to enjoy with my dinner.” 20 years later, with an annual production of 100 000 bottles of wine and 100 000 litres of oil, it’s just a little more than he requires for his personal consumption.
MORGENSTER EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL
Morgenster Extra Virgin Olive Oil is produced with the most up-to-date expertise and plant material; a blend of several Italian cultivars renowned for the excellent oil they produce; each contributing specific characteristic to the final product. The term extra virgin relates to the level of fatty acid in the oil, this must be <0.8% to qualify and is ultimately determined by the temperature at which the oil is extracted. Our state of the art machinery guarantees that every drop of Morgenster olive oil produced has an acidity of <0.3%. The oil is allowed to settle in stainless steel tanks before being pumped off the sediment. It is then blended to provide the ultimate flavour profile and kept in pristine conditions until it is bottled to order in the now distinctive Morgenster embossed bottle. The bottle is sealed with a tamper proof pourer that guarantees that the bottle of oil you open was filled in the factory at Morgenster olive and Wine Estate.
LEMON ENHANCED EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL
Morgenster Extra Virgin Olive Oil is used as the base oil for this innovative and exciting product. An entrepreneurial and innovative spirit is second nature to Morgenster’s owner, Giulio Bertrand and was the inspiration behind this product. The base oil, for which Morgenster is renowned, is infused with an extract from lemon skin to create a fresh and lively olive oil that partners extremely well with salads (particularly green salad), grilled, baked or braaied fish, and roast or stir-fried vegetables. For a new and exciting experience drizzle Morgenster’s Lemon Enhanced Extra Virgin Olive Oil over Vanilla Ice-cream and top it with a couple of drops of aged White Balsamic Vinegar, not even your favourite Lemon Cheesecake ever tasted this good!
DON CARLO EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL
Don Carlo is the most intense of the extra virgin olive oils in Morgenster’s range of acclaimed olive oils. It is extracted from a new international olive cultivar, recently established for the first time in South Africa at the Morgenster Estate. Morgenster has the sole right to propagate and distribute this patented variety in South Africa. In the intense fruity category, Don Carlo produces an oil markedly different from the oil coming from traditional varieties. With vibrant tomato and tomato leaf aromas and flavors this single varietal oil exhibits compelling character and invites experimentation with food pairings.
Morgenster pressed a limited quantity of extra virgin olive oil from its Don Carlo groves for the first time in 2013. When sufficient oil becomes available, Don Carlo will be considered as one of the building blocks of the Estate’s flagship extra virgin olive oil.
MONTE MARCELLO EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL
Monte Marcello, depicted on the front label, is owned by Giulio Bertrand, and is built around the tower that dates back to the 12th Century. The home is situated in Liguria, on the border with Tuscany. Ligurian olives are the inspiration for this late harvest variety in the range of Morgenster’s exceptional extra virgin olive oils. Inspired by a traditional practice of the oil growers of Liguria, Giulio has brought this time honoured custom to South Africa. The production will always be small and exclusive, and only in years when mother nature intervenes as she is want to do. The Ligurian olives used to make this olive oil have a strange habit of occasionally maturing much later than normal; around July/August in South Africa. The late ripening of the olives produces a pale gold olive oil with a distinct sweetness and soft velvety mouth feel. The oil reminds Giulio of the olives that surround his home. Monte Marcello, hence it carries its name proudly and with distinction.
The latest edition to the Morgenster range of gourmet products in the now very distinct dark, square Morgenster bottle bearing the embossed scallop taken from the front gable of the Morgenster Homestead is a Balsamic Vinegar bearing the certification of the “Consorzio Aceto Balsamico Di Modena”. This certification verifies that the Balsamic is produced in Modena, using traditional methods, where it has been made since the Middle Ages. The collaboration between Giulio Bertrand and this Italian family that has made Balsamic for five generations began in late 2007 when Giulio sought a product to pair alongside his Extra Virgin Olive Oil on the tables of the best South African Restaurants; “It will come only from Modena”, he said with conviction and his well-known passion for quality and his heritage.The concentrated must used to make this Balsamic is aged for three years in wooden casks where it intensifies, sweetens and takes on the characteristics of the particular wood used.
WHITE TRUFFLE ENHANCED EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL
The Truffle, a cross between a potato and a mushroom, grows only in certain regions of the world; all the more elusive as it is uncultivable. The White Truffle, found in Alba, Italy, grows on the roots of Oaks, Poplars, Willows and Hazelnut trees, is ‘hunted’ by dogs and their “Trifulao” masters in the dead of night to conceal their hunting grounds. The scent, redolent of earth, wood and vaguely garlicky, permeates the senses rapturously. Native to Piedmont, Morgenster’s owner Giulio Bertrand is naturally passionate about the White Truffle and has made it available to us all by importing the White Truffle extract which is blended into Morgenster’s world acclaimed extra virgin olive oil with spectacular results. This is a ‘must have’ in the kitchen of every Chef – Executive, Aspiring or otherwise. The golden rule when using this product is to use it sparingly; just a couple of drops will tantalise your taste buds.