Lokaia Wines – A Project Exploring the Exotic Side of the Franschhoek Ward: Tasting Their Pound of Flesh Semillon 2021…

Clayton Reabow of Môreson and Craig McNaught of Stony Brook winery are the winemakers behind this new head-turning Franschhoek-based label and the owners of the Lokaia brand. It was their belief that there was more to explore in the potential of the Franschhoek Valley with varieties like Semillon, Chardonnay and Cabernet Franc that led to an exciting new range of wines. With second vintages of all three wines hitting the market both in South Africa and further afield, it seems the hype and excitement around the wines has been well founded.

The name “Lokaia” is derived from Ole Lukøje, the title of a fairy tale by author Hans Christian Andersen about the God of Dreams, and I’m sure neither Clayton nor Craig could have imagined the level of acclaim to which their three new wines would be received by markets, both locally in South Africa and internationally.

I really loved the electric early picked freshness on the whites and the purity and precision on their Cabernet Franc red. The market, as a whole, is so often top heavy with ripe, alcoholic, fruit bomb wines that sometimes fine wine lovers of elegance, tension, purity and freshness at lower alcohol levels are often forgotten about. But thankfully Clayton and Craig have created a tight range of wines that ticks so many boxes while also playing to the strengths of their local Franschhoek terroirs.

Such is the popularity of these wines and the instant following (and small production) that all three new releases sell out instantly on release in the local market. So worth looking out for these in the UK and further afield while they are still slightly less well known! It’s certainly not going to last!

Lokaia Pound of Flesh 2021, WO Bo-Hoek, Franschhoek, 10.5% Abv.

This impressive wine comes from a vineyard planted in 1995 on the Stony Brook farm in the Bo-Hoek area of Franschhoek. Despite its ultra-crystalline clear translucent colour, the wine saw a small amount of skin contact in the press before an extra four months ageing in stainless steel. There is an alluring dusty, stony mineral aromatic character on the attractive nose before more complex notes of lemon grass, lime peel, white pear, green herbs and lemon pastille emerge. At 10.5% Abv. the wine is impressively ample and ripe with taut textural layers of tart peach stone fruits, wet river pebble minerality and lime cordial, all framed by a steely, intense, glassy acidity that has more in common with Australia’s tart, dry Hunter Valley expressions than the more generous, glycerol, lanolin and lemon fruited expressions we are more used to from Franschhoek’s famous old vine vineyards. Like Lokaia’s other wines, this is another super classy expression that will seduce the fussiest of Old World fine wine aficionados. Drink from release and over the next 8 to 10+ years.

(Wine Safari Score: 93+/100 Greg Sherwood MW)

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