A new range of wines from Lanzerac honours the heritage of this historic Stellenbosch estate while pioneering new cultivars
Lanzerac Wine Estate, situated at the entrance to the picturesque Jonkershoek valley, traces its heritage back to 1692 and has long claimed its place in South Africa’s winemaking history as the first estate to plant, grow and bottle Pinotage. Now cellarmaster Wynand Lategan is honouring that history and creating some of his own, with the release of a boutique range of wines, the “Keldermeester Versameling”.
This “Cellarmaster’s Collection” pays tribute to the heritage of the estate, but also shows plenty of innovation.
“With these wines, the focus is very much on experimentation both from a variety and a terroir perspective,” says Wynand. “They are also a vehicle for challenging conventional winemaking methods and serve to prove that a wine estate with so much history and tradition behind it can also be innovative at the same time.”
Paying tribute to Professor Abraham Perold
Perhaps the most interesting wine in the range is dubbed Prof and pays tribute to Professor Abraham Perold, who in 1924 created Pinotage by crossing Pinot Noir and Cinsaut, a grape also known as Hermitage. Prof explores the interplay of these two “parents” with a refined blend of Cinsaut (60%) and Pinot Noir (40%).
Local Pinot Blancs
A similarly interesting bottling is Bergpad: one of the few Pinot Blancs made locally. Pinot Blanc is a white-wine mutation of Pinot Noir and common to both Alsace and Italy. Here Wynand sourced grapes from a single vineyard in the Jonkershoek valley, the vines no doubt overlooking the eponymous bergpad (mountain road) that runs from Stellenbosch into the mountains. Dok is the only red in the range and a nod to rugby supremo Dr Danie Craven, who was a regular visitor at Lanzerac. The single-vineyard Malbec comes from the cool slopes of the Jonkershoek and delivers polished tannins, dark fruit and freshness.
While these three wines make up the current release, expect the Keldermeester Versameling to vary from year to year, with new blends and expressions as Wynand discovers new pockets of vineyards across the Western Cape.
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Words: Richard Holmes