The urban sprawl of Stellenbosch comes to an abrupt halt, in its south-western suburb of Onderpapegaai, when you enter the gates of Middelvlei. Suddenly, before you lies a beautiful vineyard-strewn amphitheatre overlooking the Bottelary Hills and the upper reaches of Devon Valley. This is the home of the Momberg family, who have been wine farmers since 1919. The modern generation of Mombergs, brothers Tinnie and Ben, have learnt well from their father, Stiljan. Ever since he handed over the running of the farm to them in 1995, his quiet and kindly patriarchal influence has been felt, but, by then, most of the groundwork had been done. Stiljan had inculcated in them a strong work ethic and a culture for perfection and foresight in the vineyards and cellar. Ever mindful of the strong sense of tradition at Middelvlei Estate, Tinnie and Ben have blended modern winemaking and viticultural techniques with tried-and-tested methods, and, together with the marketing skills of Ben’s wife, Jeanneret, have created a potent force on the Cape wine scene. In 1919 two brothers, Tinnie and Niels Momberg, bought Middelvlei and moved their families onto the farm. A year later the first wines were pressed, mainly fortified at that stage. Their two sons, Stiljan (quiet Jan) and his cousin, also Jan but called Jan Bek (because of his more outgoing and voluble personality), inherited the farm in 1960. In 1963 Stiljan bought his cousin’s half share in the farm, to become sole proprietor. Jan Bek went on to buy nearby Neethlingshof Estate and subsequently entered politics. Over the next thirty years, Stiljan set about establishing one of the model wine farms in the district. He upgraded the vineyards and by 1992 had replanted the entire 130 hectares under vine.
The wine has a delightful light golden hue, while the bouquet is ripe with fruit, including lychee, pears, guava and citrus. The palate shows further fruity flavours with understated dried apricot and pear making an appearance. The finish is delicate and lengthy.