When you look into a jeweller’s bag, you often would want to go for the newest one and overlook the aged ones, but in this case the older the better. Not that Lanzerac Hotel and Spa could even be classified as old in that sense of the word. It has a rich history and the story behind the farm and all its glory, is a very interesting one indeed.
Lanzerac is a 300 year old estate on the outskirts of Stellenbosch, on-route you might think you lost as the entrance to the estate is in a residential area, but this is all part of the charm of this picturesque estate.
The initial owner Elizabeth Katherina English, a South African, married a Frederick Alexander and lived in England till 1909 when Frederick died. She then purchased this farm called “Schoongezicht” at the time and changed its name to Lanzerac.
There are many stories as to why she named the farm Lanzerac and on the farm the story goes that she named the farm after, General Charles Lanzerac, a French general, who commanded the French Fifth Army at the outbreak of World War I.
We started out our visit with a cellar tour and tasting.
The cellar was established in 1936 after the farm was bought by Johannes Tribbelhorn.
I think what Lanzerac is most proud of is the fact that the first commercially produced Pinotage was produced by Lanzerac in 1959. The 1959 vintage was released in 1961. This indigenous varietal was developed by Professor Abraham Perold by crossing Pinot Noir with Cinsault/Hermitage
Another thing unique to Lanzerac is the tear shaped bottle, which was first produced in 1959. Dr Christo Wiese bought Lanzerac in 1991 and replanted the vineyards and also built a new wine cellar. The hotel was also renovated to international 5 star standards. Dr Wiese sold Lanzerac in July 2012 to a British Consortium.
Winemaker Wynand Lategan has been making these marvellous wines since 2005 and even after the sale, he stayed on and continued making Award Winning wines.
Lanzerac has 3 Wine Ranges:
The Heritage Range
The Lanzerac Pionier Pinotage is a tribute to the first world’s first bottled Pinotage – a 1959 Lanzerac Pinotage. A big mouth-feel, complex and velvety palate and a long and lingering aftertaste rounds off this wine.
Le General is a blend made from Cab Sauv, Merlot,Pinotage,Shiraz and Malbec. Matured in a combination of new and second fill 300 litre French Oak barrels for a period of 20 months.
Mrs English – Elizabeth Katherina English bought the farm Schoongezicht in 1914 for £18 000 and subsequently renamed the farm ‘Lanzerac’. She also bottled the first Lanzerac wine. This wine is a tribute to this formidable lady. The Lanzerac Mrs. English is a limited selection of the finest Chardonnay barrels of the particular year. The 2012 vintage is a complex wine with abundance citrus flavour on the nose, a full palate and lingering aftertaste.
The Premium Range – their 2nd tier,Single Varietal Range consisting of 6 wines.
Lanzerac MCC Blanc de Blanc Brut NV – A new era in the winemaking from Lanzerac Wine Estate has been marked by the maiden release of the Lanzerac MCC Blanc de Blancs Brut in December 2014. Entirely made from selected Chardonnay vineyards this sparkling wine have typical fresh citrus and lime flavours on the nose supported by a biscuit, yeasty undercurrent on the palate.
The Premium Range Sauvignon Blanc- The 2015 Sauvignon Blanc has prominent tropical, green pepper and chalky flavours on the nose and mouth-filling pineapple, guava and a limey twist on the palate. The wine is well balanced and ends on a lingering clean, minerally note.
The Premium Range – Chardonnay – The first wine of origin Jonkershoek Valley. 80% of the Chardonnay is fermented in 300 litre Burgundy oak barrels; 20% is fermented in stainless steel tanks. Prominent citrus aromas on the nose followed by a complexity of flavours including lemon, clover, ginger and vanilla.
The Premium Range – Merlot-The 2013 Merlot has an excellent deep red colour with ripe red berries, cocoa, slight mint and chocolate on the nose. On the palate the wine shows a good balance and tannin structure, rich body with fruit and a lingering aftertaste.
The Premium Range -Pinotage – An excellent deep colour with ripe berries and plums on the nose and palate with a good mouth-feel and lingering aftertaste. Full-bodied, complex with a beautiful fruit/wood balance and a good tannin structure that will allow it to age extremely well.
The Premium Range – Cabernet Sauvignon – Flavours of violet, leather, blackberry and youngberry with hints of cocoa, almond and cedar. A full-bodied wine with excellent balance on palate and a lingering aftertaste.
The Alma Matar Range – the third tier consisting of 3 wines. Bottled in the unique tear shaped bottle.
The Lanzerac Alma Mater Rosé is made from Shiraz and Malbec and has typical summer fruit, like strawberries and watermelon on the nose. The palate is light, succulent, fresh and slightly off-dry.
The Lanzerac Alma Mater Shiraz 2012 has a fruity nose with prominent plum and blackberries. The palate is soft, packed with black fruit and integrated tannins.
The Lanzerac Alma Mater Chenin Blanc is packed with fruit with prominent guava, tropical and citrus flavours. The palate is succulent, fresh and lively.
WINE TASTING OPTIONS
- Standard Tasting: R 40 pp
Taste any 4 wines from the Alma Mater or Premium Range
- Heritage Tasting: R 130 pp
Taste Lanzerac’s Heritage Range, a collection of 3 flagship wines
- Alma Mater Chocolate & Wine Pairing:R 45 pp
Three Alma Mater wines paired with three selected chocolates
- Alma Mater White paired with a white ‘Tropical Fruit’ chocolate.
- Alma Mater Rosé paired with a pink ‘Rosewater’ chocolate.
- Alma Mater Red paired with a ‘Black Spice’ chocolate.
- Premium Chocolate & Wine Pairing:R 75 pp
Five Premium wines paired with five selected chocolates
- Sauvignon Blanc paired with a white ‘Safari Fruit’ chocolate.
- Chardonnay paired with a white ‘Lemons and Limes’ chocolate.
- Merlot paired with a ‘Dark Cherry Cigar’ chocolate.
- Pinotage paired with a chocolate dipped macerated cherry.
- Cabernet Sauvignon paired with a ‘Cape Malay Spice’ chocolate.