The new annual releases of Lukas Van Loggerenberg have certainly evolved into a highly anticipated occasion watched very closely by merchants and consumers alike. Undoubtedly, Lukas is one of the most talented winemakers to come out of South Africa in the last few years, producing wines with incredible focus and tension, purity and liquid minerality that lays bare the terroir characteristics of his various selected vineyards.
I caught up with Lukas recently and tasted through all his 2019 new releases, from a vintage that shows many passing resemblances to the taut, mineral 2017s. Indeed, the minerality and subtle austere restraint that is evident throughout the entire range, made for an interesting topic of conversation. Together with the fresh acidities and low alcohol levels, Lukas’s latest releases are yet again an exercise in precision and restraint. Bag your allocations asap as production levels are small but highly sought after.
Lukas Van Loggerenberg Break A Leg Rose 2019, 12.3 Abv.
Fourth vintage of this sophisticated Rose but the first use of this 27 year old Helderberg located vineyard planted on soft sandy decomposed granite just above the Craven Cinsault vineyard owned by Pieter Bredell. Three pickings make up the final wine which is fermented in old oak which removes the New World tooty fruity Rose character to expose the more grown up serious side of the wine a la Provençal Rose wines. The nose if loaded with wet slate, rain on granite, sun dried strawberries and pithy red cherry with a dusting of dried herbs. Cool, textured and quite glycerol in the mouth, this wine has lovely poise, precision and purity and a full mouthfeel more associated with higher alcohol wines…but all delivered at just over 12 Abv. A fabulous gastronomic Rose wine.
(Wine Safari Score: 92/100 Greg Sherwood MW)
Lukas Van Loggerenberg Trust Your Gut Chenin Blanc 2019, 12.75 Abv.
This wine is 73% Paardeberg from 40 year old Chenin Blanc vines with 27% from a 34 year old Polkadraai vineyard. The bouquet shows lovely caramelised yellow orchard fruits with white peach, honey on buttered white toast and a lemon herb crushed granite liquid minerality. Palate shows impressive concentration and intensity, peach pastille and pineapple cordial mixed with granitic herbal notes. Beautiful harmonious balance, texturally very polished and pure. Super impressive.
(Wine Safari Score: 94/100 Greg Sherwood MW)
Lukas Van Loggerenberg Kameraderie Chenin Blanc 2019, 13.03 Abv.
From an old vine Chenin Blanc vineyard planted in 1960 that yielded a meagre 1200 bottles in 2019 thanks to the drought, baboons and the age of the vines. The vineyard delivers incredible concentration with an almost Champagne-like pH of 3.2. This shows similar characters to the Trust Your Gut but with an even more pronounced crush granite minerality, slate dust and sweet grilled herbs intermixed with pithy yellow orchard fruits, green pistachio and piquant crunchy pineapple pastille with great salinity. A super serious Chenin expression that is maybe showing more of its austere Loire’ish DNA at the moment. Drop dead gorgeous and also age worthy.
(Wine Safari Score: 96/100 Greg Sherwood MW)
Lukas Van Loggerenberg Geronimo Cinsault 2019, WO Stellenbosch, 12.3 Abv.
From a blend of two Helderberg vineyards, one a 27 year old plot and the other a 42 year old plot. Similar to 2017, the 2019 fruit was exposed to warm days but cooler nights allowing the wine to retain a delicate perfume and intricate aromatics. There are fabulous crystalline red berry fruits, red cherry, cranberry and rose water nuances. The palate is taut and vibrant, crunchy and tart with a seductive sweet sour acidity, bright red cherry zest, savoury depth, pithy salinity and a long, spicy, Turkish delight finish. This is a very serious expression and a real flag bearer for the variety.
(Wine Safari Score: 93+/100 Greg Sherwood MW)
Lukas Van Loggerenberg Breton Cabernet Franc 2019, WO Stellenbosch, 13.1 Abv.
A blend of 3 vineyards all planted on granitic soils in the Polkadraai. Two out of three of the vineyards are whole bunch fermented adding to the aromatic spice and herbaceousness before being aged 10-11 months in old oak. The vintage has the classical wet gravel nose with all the archetypal notes of true Cabernet Franc. Plenty of plushness and weightless density with the lower yields but also shows lovely cedar and lead pencil sappy spice, graphite and a herby hedgerow perfume. Herbaceousness is in the DNA of Cabernet Franc and when cultivated correctly, can offer plushness of black fruit intensity together with the herby graphite lead pencil notes that set this variety apart. Lukas manages capture the classism without feeling forced or prickly. The texture and purity is super impressive and the plush creamy concentration mouth filling and expansive. This is benchmark classical Cabernet Franc and sits among the finest expressions produced in SA.
(Wine Safari Score: 94/100 Greg Sherwood MW)
Lukas Van Loggerenberg Graft 2019, WO Polkadraai Hills, 13.1 Abv.
The second vintage that Lukas has gone pure Syrah dropping the Cinsault component used last in the 2017. From grapes are grown on classic granite soils, the fruit was whole bunch fermented in inert plastic tanks and then foot trodden with one of the fermenting must tanks foot trodden again once a day. Aged in French oak barrels, 30% new, for 11 months. This wine shows a deep, alluring savoury brûléed black berry depth with notes of olive tapenade, blueberry crumble, black currant, granitic herby spice and liquid mineral notes of dusty gravel, incense and a certain meaty Spanish tapas bar exoticism. Lavish and distinguished, this is a really beautiful wine that finishes with pinpoint chalky powdery fine mineral tannins.
(Wine Safari Score: 95/100 Greg Sherwood MW)
(Wines are available to the trade on allocation in the UK from Richard Kelley at Dreyfus Ashby)