#241 Lanzerac Merlot 2021
VIDEO Chapter INDEX:
00:00 – SOUTH AFRICA’S TOP TEN MERLOTS…AND THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY
00:51 – WHAT’S IN THIS VIDEO
01:15 – WHERE IS LANZERAC ESTATE
01:44 – THE FASCINATING TOPOGRAPHY OF STELLENBOSCH
02:34 – THE MODERN HISTORY OF LANZERAC
03:42 – WHAT DOES THE LANZERAC MERLOT TASTE LIKE
05:02 – A DEEP DIVE ON “GREEN FLAVOURS” IN WINE
Rich Mahogany & Leather-bound books
Lanzerac is kind of a big deal with regards to Stellenbosch History.
It’s been around in one shape or form ever since 1692, which is only 13 years after the original farm of Stellenbosch was founded (from which the modern day town gets its name)! It also lent its name to the first ever bottled Pinotage in the world – the Lanzerac Pinotage 1959 (even thought the fruit was actually grown and vinified on the estate of Bellevue, before being sold to the Stellenbosch Farmer’s Winery as bulk wine. lol.).
But the estate has been growing its own grapes since the 1920s, and by the 1930s it was already winning local wine awards and was very much part of the reason behind Stellenbosch’s growing wine reputation around the world.
But aside from being one of the longest standing Stellenbosch brands, they have also managed to maintain the rare combination of a consistent style and relatively high quality level; there’s a sense of old-world classicism to their wines, which is partially why I have included them in our study of South African Merlot. During my tasting of the Merlot Forum Top Ten for 2022, I noticed that the Lanzerac Merlot had made it through to the final round of judging, but had fallen just outside of the Top Ten grouping. Ranking aside, this was one of the highlights for me, and a wine that is a worthy inclusion in the discussion around what South African Merlot can be.
Now, obviously, if you have yet to sign up for your Monthly HanDrinksSolo Wine Subscription then you’ll have to hunt this wine down in your own time. But until then, here are my tasting notes and some technical specs:
👃🏼 The vanguard carries a fairly generous nose of black cherry, red cherry, sweet Ribena, blackcurrant, mint, and cherry menthol candy. There is a hint of sweet oak spice, but mostly it is just an impressively intricate fruit-driven nose.
👄 The palate is regal, but not entitled. There are some firm tannins, but these simply set the paramaters within which the rather high-definition mix of red berries and black fruit can unfold. The wine has lovely length with black fruit fading towards the finish as redder elements of cherry and raspberry persist.
Wine of Origin Jonkershoek. 100% Merlot. Fruit is taken from three sites, with vines aged between 27 years and 5 years. Altitude ranges from 125m up to 400m. Fruit was destemmed, and lightly crushed. It was worked moderately during fermentation, and the structure shows this. Part of the juice went through malolactic conversion in tank, and part in barrel. Wine was matured for 12 months in a mix of 1st-fill, 2nd-fill, and 3rd-fill oak barrels.
Finally, if you’re interested in THE POLITICS OF RIPENESS, you can watch that video here
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