Cheese and wine are two of my favorite things to enjoy in this world and for our 17th Wedding Anniversary my wife organized a night away at the Lanzerac Wine Estate.
Getting there early made for a change as it extended the day, affording us the pleasure of a spa treatment at the Lanzerac Spa followed by a wine tasting and cheese platter for two from the Lanzerac Deli!
Jerome had to be one of the most enthusiastic wine stewards I have ever met and there was no doubt he was excited by the world of wine.
Included in our stay at the Lanzerac was a complimentary wine tasting of their Premium Range so Kathryn opted to try those wines while I paid in a bit extra for the pleasure of sampling their Heritage Range.
The MCC, from the Heritage Range, had a lovely nose of toast and fresh biscuit with a crisp follow through, and a citrus finish. Perfect for a scorching hot day in the winelands.
The Sauvignon Blanc, from the Premium Range, has a fresh acidity, with lovely citrus notes with hints of grapefruit and lemon zest, giving way to some rounder tropical notes toward the finish.
The Chenin 2018 is fruit forward with apples on the nose and delicate citrus finish. Lovely and fresh this is a very friendly Chenin. The grapes are split with 30% oak and 70% stainless steel resulting in a wine of elegance with a hint of butterscotch that doesn’t overpower the light nature of this particular varietal.
Jerome loved telling us about Mrs. English, a previous owner who renamed the farm Lanzerac, and shared more about the story that inspired this single vineyard chardonnay.
We sampled bottle 3020 of 4800, which had been matured in French Oak for 12 months, This Chardonnay is perfumed and rich with a steely centre. A lovely compliment to some of the rich cheeses we were indulging in!
My preference is usually towards bold red wines, but I do relish the opportunity to try different styles of both white and red wines so it was with interest that I moved on to the reds…
First up was the Premium Range Syrah 2016 displaying white pepper and almonds with a light tannin. This a medium-full bodied red of which 50% of the grapes is matured in stainless steel tanks and 50% matured in 3rd or 4th fill French Oak barrels for 9 months.
The Merlot 2016 was second runner up. This medium-body red, is dark in colour, with crushed strawberry and hints of vanilla on the nose, this wine follows through with berry fruit and a meaty tannin on the tongue. For me, its perhaps a bit light, and a little too thin, but I think this would be perfect for a warm summer day.
The second last on my tasting list was their big, bold red blend Le Général 2014, named for the renowned French General after whom Mrs. English renamed the farm – herein lies the story! Created from 42% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Merlot, 12% Shiraz, 12% Petit Verdot, 10% Malbec and 6% Shiraz this is a complex blend. Full bodied with upfront vanilla and spice leads to dark berry fruit with a smooth tannin finish that lingers for a while on the palate. Not to knock this blend, but I felt that there was something missing. Not sure if it was heavy enough for a label that tells of an intimidating French war hero? A pleasing red blend none the less.
Last year I enjoyed meeting a few winemakers and chatting to those that were developing their own range of signature wines, whether under their own or their farm label. The last wine on my tasting list at Lanzerac was one of the limited release wines from Cellar Master Wynand Lategan’s artisanal range – one of only 1 396 bottles produced!
PROF, named after Professor Perold, is a blend of Cinsaut (Hermitage) and Pinot Nior, the two varietals that he crossed to make Pinotage in 1925. This beaut was my favorite.
Despite being a lover of deep full bodies reds, I really take pleasure in these two varietals. An exemplary blend of 40% Cinsaut sourced from the warm Paarl region and 60% Pinot Nior sourced from the cooler Walker Bay area, I love the sour cherry and earthy spice of the Cinsaut and the lollipop cherry notes of Pinot Noir both of which are enhanced by 12 months on 1st fill French Oak.
The inspiration for this wine is an effort to find out what Professor Abraham Perold had in mind when he created Pinotage by crossing Cinsaut and Pinot Noir in 1925. It was at Welgevallen (University of Stellenbosch research farm) that Prof Perold cultivated the first Pinotage vines but Prof Perold never had the opportunity to taste the first bottled wine made from this grape variety, and with the crafting of this wine Wynand Lategan tried to discover the purpose of Prof Perold’s creation.
PROF has a prevailing sense of freshness and lightness and delivers a soft and delicate palate with a fundamental complexity rounds it off seamlessly.
In contrast, it was interesting to test the Premium Range 2016 Pinotage, the ‘child’ of the two varietals which were crossed, which is dark in colour and exhibits darker fruits such as plums and blackberries.
This wine tasting at Lanzerac was a special time to wind down, and enjoy some distinguished wine and also just ‘be’ with the person with whom I have known for 19 years, my wife who has given me 2 awesome kids and many great times filled with laughter. Thanks K.