In May 1966, I started working at Lanzerac, the beautiful country hotel in the very heart of the Stellenbosch Wine Appellation. At the time, Lanzerac was amongst the first f the Country House style of hotels and the fist in South African to served a buffet breakfast. The Cheese lunches, for which we charged 95 cents at the time were legendary amongst so many students studying at Stellenbosch University. They were called Maties – from Tamaties, the colour of the University’s Rugby team jersey.
1966 was an important year as in May, Bobby and Ethel Kennedy overnighted there in preparation for the speech he was to give at Simonsberg Men’s residence the next day.
In the 1960s, Lanzerac Pinotage was all the rage, it was the early days of Pinotage and it was bottled, together with the Lanzerac Rosé in the iconic tear drop shaped bottle.
Moving on into 2017, Lanzerac has released two excellent wines, a Chenin Blanc from the 2016 vintage and a Shiraz 2015.
“We couldn’t have asked for better timing to release these wines, “says Cellar Master Wynand Lategan. “Chenin Blanc seems to be the talk of the town now and the quality of South African Chenin Blancs has shown vast improvement year on year. The same applies to the Syrah. It took some time to perfect the style of what we wanted to achieve, but the vineyards have matured beautifully allowing us to release a terroir-specific Syrah from the Jonkershoek Valley that we are proud to showcase.”
Both varieties are produced from vineyards in the Jonkershoek Valley, one of the oldest and smallest wards in the greater Stellenbosch Appellation. The Valley itself is entrenched by the Botmaskop, Jonkershoek and Stellenbosch mountains and despite the current drought in the Western Cape still regularly records higher rainfall figures than the rest of Stellenbosch. The lay of the Valley also means that the South-Eastern wind plays a major part in the Valley’s unique climate, resulting in a continuous cooling effect, even in the middle of the scorching summer months.
Regarded as a little bit more serious than a Sauvignon Blanc, Wynand feels that the Chenin Blanc shows typical varietal characteristics with an abundance of apricot and peach flavours, which are supported by ripe pineapple. The 22% Oak maturation ensures a soft, creamy finish with a lingering aftertaste. Perfect for lazy summer evenings as the weather starts to cool, the Lanzerac Chenin Blanc 2016 is ready to drink now and will reach its maximum potential if cellared correctly until 2018. The wine pairs beautifully with chicken liver parfait served with a homemade apple chutney and toasted brioche, sweet and sour pork, scallops, white-rind cheese such as Brie, and even roasted root vegetables
As its name implies the Lanzerac Syrah 2015 personifies the cooler climate of the Jonkershoek Valley, and Wynand describes this lighter styled premium red wine – the first from Lanzerac in more than 10 years – as showing aromas of white pepper, coriander, fynbos and red wine poached plums, following through to a complex palate of ripe red and black berries with a savoury undertone. The Lanzerac Syrah is made in a style that will satisfy wine lovers that want to enjoy the wine immediately, but it can also be cellared for another three years. A culinary match made in heaven, the wine pairs perfectly with a platter of cured meats, paprika-roasted leg of lamb, grilled ribeye steak and lamb shanks prepared in a Syrah jus.
The Chenin Blanc is available from the Lanzerac Tasting Room at R85 per bottle, and the Syrah sells at R140 per bottle.
Members of the Lanzerac Wine Club qualify for a 20% discount and free delivery of 12 bottles or more, anywhere in South Africa.
Both wines are expected to be available in select retail outlets nationwide from mid-2017.
For more information contact Zelda Furstenburg on 021 886 5641 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Information from On the Marque Communications