Updated: Jun 19
Experiencing the history of South African Pinotage at Lanzerac Wine Estate.
In the #worldofwine, the unspoken rule is that you’ll never have a better #wine than to have the wine at the #domain. This can generally be true, but can also lead to unrealistic expectations. I mean how many times do you go to a big #winery and get a private #winetasting with the #winemaker in the #cellar? This would give anyone fuzzy feels and a signal that something special is in the air.
This however is not a story about any such experience. No #winemakers or private #cellartours here. What this is, is an account of something which in my opinion is far more valuable to someone like me, a nobody-startup, trying to make a ripple in an ocean. In advance, I’d like to write a thank you to the team at #Lanzerac for hosting me in such an incredible way. I can only hope the words and photos I’m about to write and share (while on my #kululaflight back to Pretoria) do the experience and people I met justice.
The Venue - Lanzerac
"Steeped in history dating back to 1692, Lanzerac Wine Estate is a historic landmark and Stellenbosch icon." - Lanzerac.
Nestled against the slopes surrounding #Stellenbosch you’ll find the pretty well-known #wineestate of Lanzerac. An estate steeped in #winehistory, not only because of what Stellenbosch represents in the #SouthAfricanwineindustry but also because of its ties to the commercialization of #Pinotage. South Africa's very own #grapevarietal, and yes they make a damn incredible Pinotage, but we’ll get to that in a bit I promise.
Entering the massive gates you are immediately greeted by the most amazing sight. A long, straight road, surrounded by #vineyards on both sides and tunneled by beautiful trees to the #cellar. This however is just a foreshadowing of what awaits behind the doors of the #tasingroom. A warm, fire-lit space that proudly showcases the farm's history and ties to Pinotage in South Africa. There is also a sneak peek down into the cellar and beautiful deli where you can find some #localcuisine and treats. All of this is tied together by a golden thread, the #Lanzeracstaff. This, however, I will save for the end.
"Home to the world's first bottled pinotage, our range of award-winning wines has been honed to maintain the excellent quality that Lanzerac Wine Estate has become known for." - Lanzerac, Stellenbosch
Premium Chardonay 2020
Premium Cabernet Sauvignon 2018
Premium Pinotage 2018
MCC Blanc de Blancs Brut
Mrs. English Single Vineyard Chardonay 2019
Le Général 2017
Pionier Pinotage 2018
Now for the #goodstuff. With so much history surrounding the farm, it's impossible to not have a few expectations. Also based on the fact that I had tried the 2013 #Cab a little while back, and I'm happy to report that they were all met and exceeded. One wine that stood out was the #PionierPinotage, a tribute to the world’s first #bottled Pinotage by the farm in 1959. A #grapevarietal created in South Africa in 1925 by Abraham Izak Perold, and is a cross between #Hermitage an #Pinotnoir. I like to tell people to let wine bring back fond #memories, and as I sat there, the sweet, subtle aromas of #molasses, #leather, and #oak, reminded me of a time from my #childhood. A time when I used to visit farms with my dad, and a farmer showed me for the first time that you could take #molasseslick from the feed trough and suck on it.
Now with the knowledge that not everyone will ever have a chance to #taste it, I would highly recommend the #PremiumPinotage as an excellent, #valueformoney #expression of its big sister and great Pinotage. The #MCCBrut and #MrsEnglishChardonay were also right up there as wonderful examples of their respective varietals.
"A guest never forgets the host who had treated him kindly." - Homer
Tasting Room Manager (MF) and Tasting Host (Lindokuhle). Holding vintage bottle above (Brian).
Coming from a background in #hospitality myself, I am acutely aware of the importance #hosting plays in making a great experience truly memorable. This tasting was a true example and testament of just that. With the #atmosphere created by the incredible staff, I was able to not only #appreciate the history and stories surrounding the wines but was also able to find memory for myself. Something I am becoming a big advocate for.
Having started this journey of #wineblogging, #journaling, and #winecritiquing I had no idea what this first experience would be like. Yet despite some odd requests, for the #creativestuff, several hundred #photos, #InstagramStories, and #repours later, I can only hope that more of my #winetastingexperiences will be as memorable as this one. Thank you!
My Pick of The Tasting🍷
The Pionier Pinotage 2018 - A pure expression of South African Pinotage!
Written by Brenden Roberts