Honouring Muratie’s Heritage During the Month Of June

Paying tribute to the estate’s co-founder Ansela van de Caab

June is a special heritage month in Muratie’s history books. It is the month in which Ansela van de Caab was emancipated from slavery, gaining her freedom to marry Laurens Campher and become one of the first owners of Muratie.
The remarkable story of Ansela is written into South African folklore as an icon of the struggle against the horrors of slavery at the Cape in the late 17th century. Born in the slave quarters at the Castle of Good Hope, the little girl only had a Christian name, her surname being ‘van de Caab’ (Dutch for ‘of the Cape’) as was the case with all slaves born at the Cape at the time. The first owner of Muratie (which was named De Driesprong at the time), a young German soldier in the service of the Dutch East India Company called Laurens Campher, met Ansela at the Castle and fell in love with her. During their 14-year courtship, Laurens frequently walked the 64 kilometres to Cape Town and back, a three-day trip, to see his beloved Ansela. During this time three children were born to them, and Laurens’s one wish in life was to see his family set free from slavery and to bring them home to Muratie. His dreams came true in 1695 when Ansela was christened in the Castle on 19 June and emancipated the following week on 28 June. Ansela and her children were finally able to leave behind a dark past when Laurens arrived to take his family to their new home. The oak tree Ansela planted to bless their marriage still stands on Muratie today, as does a small white house, their first home, built for them by Laurens.

Celebrating Ansela Van De Caab At Muratie

“At Muratie, our heritage is at the heart of everything we do”, says Rijk Melck, current custodian of the historic farm. “Our passion for preserving our rich, centuries-old heritage is captured in every nook and cranny of the farm and all our wines are named after the extraordinary characters from the past who moulded Muratie as we know it today. We paid tribute to the storyof Ansela and Laurens by naming our award-winning flagship wines in their honour: our Ansela van de Caab (a Bordeaux-style red blend) and Laurens Campher (a unique predominantly Chenin Blanc blended white). To mark 329 years since Ansela’s emancipation, we have some special June celebratory offers for you in the Muratie Restaurant and Tasting Room.Winter in the winelands has a special allure so please do take the time tovisit us this month. You will be greeted on arrival by Ansela’s magnificent ancient oak tree that guards our Tasting Room, and you can pay tribute to Muratie’s first owners when you visit their home which now houses the MOK Gallery. Then relax in our Farm Kitchen and enjoy soul-nourishing heritage cuisine and winter warmer wines in front of a crackling fireplace. You won’t want to miss our special June celebratory offer – our legendary Slow-Cooked Lamb Shank served with a glass of Ansela for R300. And pop into our Tasting Room on your way out and take home a celebratory 6-bottle mixed case of Ansela van de Caab and Laurens Campher for a special price of R2000.00 – or email wineclub@muratie.co.za.”

Muratie Ansela Van De Caab

Tasting notes: Muratie Ansela van de Caab is a classic Bordeaux-style blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdotwhich spent 22 months in French oak. Dark, intense and brooding, the nose promises much – cedar wood, cigar box, blackcurrants and a distinctive herbaceous and spicy edge courtesy of the Cabernet Franc. The palate, rich and velvety, more than delivers on that promise with savoury hints of black olive tapenade, cassis, some perfumed sandalwood and a long finish which develops from fruit to savoury and ends with an enticing combination of the two. This wine epitomises balance, with the elegant tannins, fresh acidity and masterly oak treatment all playing their part. Muratie Ansela van de Caab is a wine to savour with the very finest culinary offerings, or simply to be enjoyed with good friends. This wine promises enjoyment over at least 10 years.
Retail price: Muratie Ansela van de Caab 2020 is available at the estate, online at https://www.muratie.co.za/wine/buy-wine/ and at select fine wine merchants around the country. Approximate retail price: R670

Muratie Laurens Campher

Tasting notes: This wine is a unique white blend of predominantly Chenin Blanc with smaller amounts of Sauvignon Blanc, Verdehlo and Viognier. For all its freshness and elegance, the wine’s flavours are complex and intense, ranging from bright lemon, fresh pineapple, apricots and juicy nectarine to more concentrated lime marmalade as well as caramel and cream (from barrel fermentation and 11 months of maturation in mostly older French oak). On the palate the initial impression is floral (heady honeysuckle) finishing with white peaches and apricots, with hints of citrus and a fresh acidity – great persistence promising enjoyment over at least five years.
Purchase: Muratie Laurens Campher 2022 is available at the estate, online at https://www.muratie.co.za/wine/buy-wine/ and at select fine wine merchants around the country. Approximate retail price: R250

More About Ansela Van De Caab

When the Cape of Good Hope was established as a Dutch colony in 1652 by Jan van Riebeeck, the international slave trade was in full swing. Ansela’sstory begins during this dark period in history when the Dutch colonists captured a Portuguese slave ship in 1658 carrying slaves (including Ansela’smother) who had been forcibly taken from their home country of Guinea. Born into slavery in the quarters of the Cape’s notorious Castle (her mother a slave from West Africa, her white father most likely a servant of the Dutch East India Company), Ansela was destined to work in the Company’s Garden for the rest of her life. As a baby Ansela would have lived with her mother in the slave quarters under the granaries of van Riebeeck’s clay fort (on the present Parade). After the new slave lodge was completed in 1679, Ansela would have lived there, as well as her children. Ansela’semancipation years later in 1695 was conditional on her being able to speak Dutch, profess the Christian faith and be a member of the Church.
It must have been very exciting for the slave girl to finally be free, to marry Laurens Campher and be able to live with him and their children in their own house at Muratie. Laurens had not only sought a picturesque place for the homestead, but a practical one as well. Their home was built on a rise near the mountain stream, beyond the reach of flood waters but near enough for the purpose of fetching water. There was a small drift and convenient scooping place just below the house. The house had an excellent view of the Simonsberg and across the valley Table Mountain could be seen in the distance. After her life in the slave lodge, this humble dwelling must have felt like a palace. Together the Camphers planted the first vines and developed a farm that is still going strong over three centuries later.

Muratie Estate

Muratie, established in 1685 in the beautiful Knorhoek Valley north of Stellenbosch, is one of the oldest farms in South Africa, rich in history and heritage. A visit to the historic estate, guarded over by magnificent ancient oak trees, reveals a piece of history where time has largely stood still, where the unique old-world ambience is almost tangible. Thanks to the Melck family’s passionate guardianship, Muratie is a haven of heritage.

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