Saturday, June 7, 2014

On the Stellenbosch Wine Trail: Lanzerac

Like every winery in South Africa’s Stellenbosch region, Lanzerac is located in a beautiful spot. Nestled at the foot of stunning mountains in the Jonkershoek Valley (on the outskirts of Stellenbosch), the estate is full of history and charm. It boasts classic Cape Dutch architecture, beautifully maintained grounds, and an expansive tasting room. They also operate a hotel, which looked quite nice from my brief visit.

The staff was helpful and the wine selection was quite generous, everything from bubbles and roses to whites to a wide range of the typical red wines of the region. Overall, the wines were all quite solid, although nothing jumped out and screamed: “Buy me and bring me back to the States!”

Still, I think the wines are worth a mention. Here are my notes on a few Lanzerac wines I tasted…

2012 Lanzerac Chardonnay - South Africa, Coastal Region, Stellenbosch
Smells of candied lemon, apricot and butterscotch. Creamy texture but fresh acid, with flavors of baked apple, banana, toasted marshmallow and cinnamon toast. Fun flavors, but not much drive or complexity. (85 points)

2011 LanzeracMerlot - South Africa, Coastal Region, Stellenbosch
Sweet plum, mocha, vanilla and cedar shavings on the nose. Fleshy and tangy on the palate with medium tannins. Plums and blackberries laced with bell pepper, earth and vanilla. Fresh and lively in the face of richer, oak-influenced aspects. (85 points)

2012 Lanzerac Pinotage - South Africa, Coastal Region, Stellenbosch
Dark cherries, coffee, soy, some violet aromas. Velvety texture, driven by tangy berries, accented with pepper, smoke and earth. Juicy, but soft and pleasant. (86 points)

2011 Lanzerac Cabernet Sauvignon - South Africa, Coastal Region, Stellenbosch
Spicy-sweet aromas of cola, chewing tobacco, currant and vanilla. Firm, grippy tannins and bold plum and currant fruit. Notes of granite, pencil lead and sweet oregano add complexity, and there’s some balanced vanilla and cedar. Pleasant, big, could use a few years. (87 points)

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