There are so many wine estates in the Western Cape that even if you took a year’s leave you still wouldn’t have enough time to visit them all. Well that and the fact that your body might need a bit of a time out between each visit. We aim to visit and enjoy as many wine estates as humanly possible. On our list of estate visits was Lanzerac Wine Estate in Jonkershoek Valley, Stellenbosch. For those of you who might not know, Lanzerac Wine Estate is home to the world’s first bottled Pinotage!
Pinotage is the result of the blending of two grape varieties namely Pinot Noir and Hermitage. Often side-stepped due to its delicate nature, Pinotage has excelled in its diversity. Some Pinotages have hints of berries, red licorice and rooibos while others have hints of chocolate, banana, dried leaves, sweet and sour sauce and even tobacco. Pinotage has reached such a level that it now has its own fan club, its very own Pinotage Celebratory Day on the 11th October, it has its own festival – The Pinotage on Tap Wine Festival at Diemersfontein Wine Estate and it even has its own bubbly! In addition, Lanzerac Wine Estate won the prize for the Best Pinotage Vineyard in the greater Stellenbosch region in January 2016. The global success of Pinotage is unmistakable. So naturally we arrived at Lanzerac to taste their Pinotage.
Lanzerac Wine Estate has 3 tastings on offer. The Heritage Tasting, The Premium Tasting and The Wine and Chocolate Tasting, all of which can be enjoyed indoors in their period grandeur tasting room or on the verandah overlooking the vineyards. We opted for the Wine and Chocolate tasting because wine and chocolate sounds like a pretty wholesome experience and well we could 😉 Our selection included the Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Merlot, Pinotage and Cabernet Sauvignon along with their respective white, dark and milk chocolate counterparts. We picked a table out on the verandah as Cape Town decided to deliver a perfectly windless Summer’s day.
Our tasting began with the Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay tastings. Both were delicious and refreshing on their own but when paired with their respective white chocolate counterparts…amazing. For us, it was important to take our time and enjoy the setting and tranquility that Lanzerac offers. Yes, it was cooking hot but there is nothing worse than being rushed while doing a tasting. It isn’t only about the wine, it’s also about the landscape, the setting and the ambience. The service at Lanzerac was well aware of that and took their time to explain each pairing. Each pairing was informative yet succint and clear. When we were ready, we proceeded with the reds. The Merlot, Pinotage and Cabernet Sauvignon were just as wonderful as what we thought they would be. We enjoyed the Pinotage so much that we purchased a bottle.
Although a working wine farm, there is relatively easy access to the tasting room and cellar enabling exploration of the area. We really wanted to explore the area further, unfortunately, the estate’s hotel suffered a fire in May 2017 but is due to reopen in October 2018. Even though it suffered this setback, Lanzerac manages to deliver an idyllic and serene environment. The estate’s spa, tasting room, deli and restaurant operates 7 days a week so there is still plenty of reason to visit. Its Cape Dutch architecture is perfectly situated at the foothills of Botmaskop Mountains in Jonkershoek. This picture perfect wine estate is less than an hour away from the city centre and provides visitors with a little countryside escape.
Take a drive out to Jonkershoek and check out Lanzerac Wine Estate. The Western Cape might be in the grips of a horrific drought but we still have a beautiful province and this estate is proof that there is still plenty of natural beauty around us. All photographs featured were taken in January 2018!