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.
With this age comes a myriad fascinating tales of the many extraordinary characters from the farm’s colourful past, all of which have been proudly commemorated in the naming and labelling of Muratie’s wines. And what fascinating tales the Muratie range of wines tell. 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 1700s. This esteemed legacy spanning 167 years is recalled when you sip on Muratie Martin Melck Cabernet Sauvignon and Muratie Ronnie Melck Shiraz.
The Melck family story began in 1763 when a fiery Prussian, Martin Melck, patriarch of the Melck clan in South Africa and one of the Cape’s greatest landowners and most influential stock-and wine-farmers, bought De Driesprong (Muratie). After Martin’s death in 1781, the farm passed to his daughter and her husband, Jan David Beyers, and remained in the Melck-Beyers family until 1897. It was Martin’s grandson Jan Andries Beyers who built the gracious Muratie manor house.
Amazingly, almost 100 years later, the historic estate rightfully returned to the Melck family when Ronnie Melck, South African wine industry legend and direct descendant of Martin Melck, purchased Muratie in 1987. A larger-than-life personality with an incredibly finely tuned palate and boundless passion for wine, Ronnie had nurtured a 30-year-long dream of owning Muratie. Ronnie knew his “piece of heaven on earth” was destined for great things and set to work to realise his dreams. He initiated the redevelopment of Muratie, including a vineyard replanting programme. Tragically Ronnie’s untimely passing in September 1995 came too soon for him to fulfil his vision for Muratie.
THE MELCK FAMILY TODAY
Ronnie left Muratie in trust to his very capable family – his wife Annatjie, his two sons, Rijk and Anton, and his daughters Annelise and Charla. Rijk gave up his medical practice in Stellenbosch to take stewardship of Muratie – to maintain the Melck family tradition and take the estate to new heights. Passionate guardians of Muratie’s prized heritage, the family is committed to preserving the essence of a bygone era – upholding the age-old traditions of the farm, safeguarding the historic buildings, relics and memoirs, and acknowledging all those who came before. All the Muratie wines have been named after these remarkable characters, each wine with its own enchanting story described on the back label.
PAYING HOMAGE TO MURATIE’S MELCK ANCESTORS
“We have paid homage to our Melck ancestors, who made it possible for our family to be entrusted with continuing the Muratie tradition, by dedicating some of our very best wines to them. Our legendary forefather, Martin Melck, established Muratie’s Melck legacy in the 1700s, and my father Ronnie, a seventh-generation direct descendant of Martin Melck, dared to dream and turned a dream into reality when he brought Muratie back into the Melck fold in 1987,” says Rijk Melck.
Rijk continues, “We honoured Martin Melck, a man of faith, hope and charity, by naming both our Cabernet Sauvignons after him. My dad was a lover of all wine, especially red wine. Whenever he was asked what his favourite wine was, he would answer ‘The wine in my glass’. Very often the wine in his glass happened to be a Shiraz, so we have dedicated both our Shiraz wines to him.”
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Today, September 22, 2020 is the official spring equinox in the southern hemisphere, but with a cold front coming in over the weekend, bringing another three days of rain and low temperatures, there’s still the perfect opportunity to make this recipe and open a bottle of Muratie Martin Melck Cabernet Sauvignon.
FROM OUMA ANNATJIE’S KITCHEN – MARINATED BEEF POT ROAST
1kg of bolo, aitchbone or topside
110g bacon cut in 5mm pieces
150ml beer of your choice
50ml canola oil
1 tablespoon (15ml) honey
4 whole peppercorns
2 whole cloves
1 bay leaf
2 teaspoons (10ml) salt
1 tablespoon (15ml) canola oil
2 onions, cut into slices
2 carrots, grated
1 tablespoon (15ml) cake flour
Use your larding needle to lardyour beef.
Mix the beer, 50ml oil, honey, pepper, cloves and bay leaves together in a big glass casserole. Place the beef in the casserole and marinade it for 12 – 24 hours while turning regularly.
Remove the beef from the marinade but keep the marinade aside. Dry the meat with paper towel. Season with salt by rubbing it into the meat.
Heat the oil in a heavy-duty saucepan and brown the meat thoroughly on all sides. Add the onions and grated carrots to the pot.
Heat the marinade and add to the meat.
Heat to boiling point and then lower the temperature and simmer until the meat is soft. Approximately 1.5 – 2 hours. Turn the meat once or twice during this process.
Remove the meat from the pot and reduce the remaining sauce by half. Mix the flour with some water until smooth and add to the sauce. Gently simmer for a few minutes.
Place the meat back into the sauce until it is warm.
Serve your pot roast with roast potatoes, vegetables, and a bottle of Martin Melck Cabernet Sauvignon.