Lock, stock and wine barrel: Muscat de Hambourg

The wine is also great over ice cream, or as a marinade for fruit like strawberries.

Stellenbosch Hills is celebrating 30 years of its Muscat de Hambourg this year and as one of South Africa’s unique drinking expressions, it’s time to take a look at why this ruby-amber wine hits all the right notes.

Muscat de Hambourg was first developed in Germany, derived from a cross between Muscat d’Alexandrie and Frankenthal.

In South Africa, the Stellenbosch Hills vineyard was first planted in 1987. Two years later, the first vintage was released.

What makes this wine such a joy is the fact that it balances sweetness with a touch of zest, distinguishing it from other sweet offerings like dry sherries or Jerepicos and Hannepoort.

Stellenbosch Hills is one of two commercial producers of the De Hambourg varietal in South Africa, but the only producers using it as a singular cultivar wine.

The Muscat de Hambourg 2018 hits the nose with berries, while there’s also a rosy note. This is pulled together with a sweet, yet spicy taste with a zestiness.

There’s elegance and boldness to it, but what sets it apart is that it’s complex. That complexity can lead to an assumption that it is for the elite, but surprisingly you can expect to pay about R65 for a bottle of this exciting wine you can nurse for hours as you take slow sips.

Sure you can have this on its own, but Muscat de Hambourg is also great over ice cream, or marinade fruit like strawberries in it over night for a decadent twist on a boring dessert.

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