The late leonine Spatz Sperling was a legend in his lifetime. He was a pioneer, not only on Delheim Wine Estate, but also in the Stellenbosch Wine Appellation and the broader South African Wine Industry. I was pleased to know him, a larger than life character. I was once at a wedding in the Stellenbosch Synagogue, while waiting for the bride to appear, there was the noise of a street market. Suddenly an eruption of lavish laughter which made the place silent. The perpetrator was Spatz.
Sixty years ago, Spatz created Spatzendreck, German for Sparrow poo. It, like Spatz, has become legendary. The grapes for this vintage come off the Delheim Estate in the Simonsberg Stellenbosch Appellation. 24% Muscat d’ Frontignan, 38% Chenin Blanc and 38% Riesling.
The grapes are left on the vines to dry naturally to 30 ̊ Balling (Brix). Small batches are whole bunch pressed and the juice is left to settle overnight. After settling the juice is put into 225L French Oak Barrels for fermentation. Fermentation is stopped at the right alcohol and sugar levels. The wine is then left in barrel to mature for 9 months. It was then prepared for bottling.
From a brown glass 375ml Alsatian Flute, closed with natural cork. The label is a typical ‘Spatz joke’, an illustration of a little sparrow making a poo into a wine barrel. In the glass, the wine is a gem bright citrine in colour. The aromas show fynbos honey, white aromatic blossoms and poached quince. The palate, from entry, has a line of perfect balancing acidity running through it to the long and lingering aftertaste. It is fruit intense with soft sundried apricots, almost over rip mango, and an undertow of marzipan and vanilla from the French Oak Barrels in which it is fermented and matured. A truly impressive glass. A glass of history. With cool cellaring, this wine will reward after 10 to 15 years of maturation.
On Delheim the Delheim Spatzendreck 2019 is best paired with what has become known as Spatz’s Cheesecake.
Celebrated for being contrary to the mainstream, wine pioneer Spatz Sperling was no ordinary man. Nor was his favourite cheesecake.
It was a request to the resident kitchen on his birthday in 2006 that gave life to this tasty recipe, a firm farm favourite. Upon his one wish, a delicious cheesecake, the chef realised that she only had mascarpone and no cream cheese in the fridge, yet the party had to go on!…so she decided to use cottage cheese and mascarpone instead. Bold thinker…Delheim’s Garden Restaurant never looked back; Iconoclast Spatz never missed a second helping.
Cheers to challenging conventional beliefs and institutions!
130g Cake Flour
512 g Mascarpone
512 g Cottage Cheese
300g Castor Sugar
1/2 packet Tennis Biscuits
500 ml Cream
1/4 Cup Lemon Juice
Melt butter and crumb the Tennis Biscuits. Mix and combine. Use spray on cook in cake tin or butter and equally spread the crumbs in the base of the cake tin.
Whisk the eggs and castor sugar together. Mix mascarpone and cottage cheese together. Sift cake flour into the mascarpone and cottage cheese mix
Add the lemon juice and 2 teaspoons of vanilla essence. Add half a litre of cream and blend together
Bake at 170°C for 1hr and 30 mins Add your favourite syrup or dressing and pair with a glass of Delheim Spatzendreck!
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