I was just leaving Bertus Basson’s Overture recently when the charming sales representative from Delheim, Mignon Du Plessis, happened to call in. She was doing her regular sales call and uncorked a bottle of Spatzendreck Late Harvest 2009.
It brought me back 20 years, to the last time I had tasted this delicious dessert wine, during a trip to Germany. In fact, at the time, I thought it actually was a German wine. I could be forgiven, because the label and packaging get up is unapologetically Germanic, and reminiscent of wines from the Rhine/Moselle area.
We tasted it and I could still remember the honied, dried fruit flavour of the wine. Sweet, but not cloying, a nice acidity to it.
The packaging had not changed a bit and it’s one of the reasons I am voting it my wine of the week. The marketeers, God bless ‘em, have been kept away from this wonderful example of quirky design and branding.
The bottle label features a cartoon of a sparrow taking a dump into a wooden wine cask.
The story behind the label originates from 1961 when Michael Hans “Spatz” Sperling of Delheim tasted wine from lucky tank number 13. The liquid emerged a
brownish colour and one of his good friends exclaimed “But Spatzs, this is now really dreck!”
Dreck is German for rubbish.
Another friend encouraged Michael, and told him to keep at it and call it Spatz’s dreck, hence Spatzendreck.
In 1979 Decanter magazine awarded Spatzendreck the title of “Worst Label of the Year”.
The rest is, as the say, history.
Spatzendreck is available nationally in Macro, and costs under R40 a bottle.
It’s delicious paired with charcuterie, liver pate and other savoury starters. It is also very enjoyable when drunk with cheeses.
The 2009 wine is made with 100% Chenin Blanc grapes from 23 year old trellised vines.