03-11-2011

The story of M’Hudi winery

The story of M’Hudi is that of a Setswana woman who was displaced by the invasion of the Zulu. Living in the bush, she met a man also separated from his people who she saved from the jaws of a lion and then settled with. Taken from the original word “Mohudi” meaning “Harvester”, it’s a story about forgiveness, courage, friendship, and determination to survive that was written in 1920’s.

The M’Hudi winery has a 14,000 case production per year that is sourced from 21 producing hectares of vineyards. While the primary winemaker to date has been Jeff Grier of Villiera Cellars, they are transitioning to the family handling all the wine production, specifically the older brother, Diale Rangaka who has attended the viticulture academy.

At this point, it should also be noted that the family who owns M’Hudi are black South Africans and the first family in the country to do so given that all others are white South African owned, with some unfortunate “bad apples” in the mix. But, lying in the area of Bottlelary Hills of Stellenbosch, they have set about producing their wines and bucking this 350 year-old trend.

I have to admit that I was unaware of this distinction and when tasting from among the hundreds of Stellenbosch wineries, chose M’Hudi solely on it being nearly the same as my first initial and last name “mhudin”. Who would have thought I would come upon this story purely by that chance? But, on to the wines.

Their Sauvignon Blanc 2009 has warm honey and lime on the nose. These elements carry in to the body and get a dose of minerality which is very balanced and easy to drink. The finishes comes up clean. It would be a good warm weather wine as well as fitting in quite well to pair with any type of fish or seafood. Probably even good with a sweeter hams as well. R 46.50

The Kwena 2009 is part of their “junior level” range named after the grandchildren in the family. It’s a “Cape blend” that has a bit of Pinotage, Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz. The nose is light with pepper and berry touches, like raspberry. A berry cheesecake comes out as well. The body is dry body and again well-balanced. Light with general berry flavors, the wine comes up very smooth in the finish. R 38.50

The M’Hudi Merlot 2006 is overall quite wonderful with a full nose that is flowery but not sweet. Blueberry comes out but is easygoing. The body is smooth and buttery, very quaffable. The finish is a touch tannic, but still cleans out quite quickly. R 55

The M’Hudi Pinotage 2007 spends 8 months in French oak and 4 months in American oak. Naturally, there are stronger oak aromas on the nose which give way to vanilla and an undercurrent of blackberry. There is a touch of waffle on the end of the nose as well. Tobacco and smoke, it’s meaty without being heavy. The finish is dark and sensuous. R 48

We talk a great deal more about the wines of Stellenbosch and other Cape Town wineries in our Stellenbosch wine guide.