Tuesday, November 08, 2016

A visit to Lanzerac, cellar tour, tasting, lunch and a look at the newly refurbished accommodation


Lanzerac has been making changes since we last visited in 2013, when Christo Wiese had just sold the farm. They invited us to visit, see some of them and have some lunch last week. We were delighted to find that Barend Barnard, whom we know from his time as marketing manager at L'Avenir, has just been appointed General Manager taking over from Boets Nel, who will remain as a consultant. It was his first week. We had a great wine tasting and lunch with him
Meeting in the Deli with the winemaker Wynand Lategan, Direct Marketer Zelda Furstenburg and Marketing Manager Jo-Anna Looms
Into the barrel cellar
The gleaming fermentation tanks

The 'control centre' above the cellar
We were very interested to hear about some of the new wines that Wynand Lategan, who joined in 2005, is making
He gave us tastings of some of them from the barrel
First a Pinot Blanc, a northern Italian grape and rarely grown in South Africa. it has been in a fourth fill oak barrel, with notes of quince and pear on the nose; the quince remains on the palate with lime and grapefruit, with background wood notes. Going to be interesting. We liked it
Obviously, so do they (mooi in Afrikaans means good or nice)
Then a taste of the new Malbec. It has a rich savoury velvety nose of marmite and mulberry. On the palate meaty wild berries with chewy soft tannins and steely minerality. Also in 4th fill barrels. The Merlot was beautifully perfumed with roses and violets. It has high acidity at the moment but is full of chewy cherries and soft tannins, with cassis and liquorice on the end. An exciting wine. No greenness or mint detected
We had a quick look at the Vinoteque which is impressive. Who remembers these bottles? This is the first commercially bottled Cape Pinotage, dated 1959. And a Cabernet from 1957
Time for a taste of some of the current vintages in the tasting room. Lynne borrowing a pen from Zia du Toit, whom we first met when she was at Ormonde in Darling
We tasted two white wines, the 2016 Sauvignon Blanc, full of greengage, kiwi and gooseberry; it’s crisp, zesty and refreshing. Not tropical; elegant with a little Sancerre influence, ending with limes. The 2015 Chardonnay is lean with lemons and limes, clean with soft tannins, an elegant wine with buttery wood but not overdone. The 2014 Merlot has sweet red cherries and a little cassis. It is warm with dry tannins and quite dark coffee wood on the end; one to put away for the future. The 2014 Pinotage is perfumed with sweet cassis. On the palate cooked plums, Christmas notes with dry chalky tannins which need time, and sweet and sour fruit. The Cabernet 2014 is pure cassis and cherries on the nose with expensive wood. A block buster of a wine, a full-on classic cabernet, lots of chalky tannins, lots of fruit, mulberries, rhubarb and mocha. Very sappig, but needs time
You can enjoy a chocolate and wine pairing in the tasting room
A nice sheltered corner outside with tables for lunch
The gardens are all lovely green spaces
We like this quiet fountain courtyard
The main entrance to the hotel
The reception hall, which is about to go through a makeover
The oak lined driveway into the Werf
The historic manor house. John stayed here, in the suite to the left of the front door, on his (first) honeymoon in 1974 and paid R175 for 5 days bed and breakfast - a great deal of money in those days
Time for lunch with GM Barend Barnard. We were able to pick our four favourite wines from our previous tasting and these were served for lunch. We loved the neat way of pouring wine used by the waiter
Chef Stephen Fraser, whom we have now known for a few years, came to chat about his food
The first course was so beautifully presented. It was a crescent of smoked aubergine purée which Lynne thought might be too rich for the delicate tender and crispy squid. It wasn't. It added a lot to the dish, as did the lemon Aioli. We drank the Mrs English Barrel selection Chardonnay with this. It has toasted water biscuits on the nose and is a big, fat, blowsy, juicy Chardonnay with apple and pear, caramel butter, tart tatin. Great food wine
It's a lovely place to have lunch, relaxing under the trees or the umbrellas
Lynne’s choice of main course was the Pan fried line fish (Kingklip that day) with marinated juicy mussels out of their shells. The fish was moist and perfectly cooked, the coconut curry sauce the perfect foil. And as for the sweet doughnutty butternut vetkoek, wow
John had to try out the Sirloin steak with Peppercorn and Merlot cream on a spinach mousse, Dauphinoise potatoes and rainbow carrots. His smile of contentment said it all. He tried two red wines with this, The General, Lanzerac's Bordeaux blend of Cabernet Malbec and Petit Verdot, full on cassis with violets, so pretty, so sophisticated, so good with the steak. And the previously tasted 2014 Pinotage, another good match
John had room for dessert and went for the Dark Chocolate Gateau, rich and decadent with some berry sorbet. We had double espressos and then it was time to tour the hotel to see some of the new rooms
We walked through the Danie Craven room, very gentlemen's club
Lynne admiring some of the antiques
Garden cottages
A classic old doorway and a walkway to some of the rooms
A football pitch sized bed in a rather masculine room
Loved this bathroom with a view. It is protected by the outdoor screens on the terrace
French accented furniture makes this a lovely calm space
Another room has a seating area and the same light and airy feel
And twin beds. The panelling on the wall is beautifully done and very classic
For your delectation. Hidden in a cupboard is the mini bar and tea and coffee station. Lanzerac wine in the fridge of course.
A similar one in another room
Direct Marketer Zelda Furstenberg says “Goodbye and come back soon to try the deli”
© John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus 2016
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