Revisiting Some of the Impressive Lukas Van Loggerenberg 2021 Releases…

As we await the new 2022 releases from Lukas Van Loggerenberg, I thought I would revisit three wines that I tried with him in the UK a few months ago. While his Kameraderie Chenin Blanc drew all the early market attention in the first few vintages, Lukas’s Trust Your Gut Chenin Blanc has now found its own comfortable quality niche and following among old vine Chenin Blanc lovers making this wine a real steal within the range.

But if it’s Rosé wine you are looking for, the 6th vintage of Break a Leg Cinsault will charm you with its subtle reductive flintiness, hints of dried herbs, fynbos and stony minerality. Certainly one of the more serious Rosé expressions produced in the South African market. But if very fine reds, and Northern Rhône style Syrah is your preference, the Graft Syrah is simply drop dead gorgeous and well worth the effort to track down a bottle. Alternatively, get in quick when the 2022s are released in the coming months. Lukas remains one of the most exciting winemakers plying his trade in the Cape at the moment.

Lukas Van Loggerenberg Break a Leg Cinsault Rosé 2021, WO Stellenbosch 12% Abv.

The sixth vintage of this sophisticated Rosé but the first use of this 29-year-old Helderberg located vineyard planted on soft, sandy decomposed granite just above the Craven Cinsault vineyard owned by Pieter Bredell. Several pickings make up the final wine which is fermented in old oak which removes the New World tooty fruity Rosé character to expose the more grown-up serious side of the wine a la Provençal Rosé wines. The nose if loaded with aromatics of wet granite, sun dried strawberries, oyster shells and pithy red cherry with a saline, dusty dried herb sapidity. Cool, textured and quite glycerol in the mouth, this wine has lovely intensity and a fine precision, finishing with purity and a dry minerality. Another fabulous gastronomic Rosé wine.

(Wine Safari Score: 92+/100 Greg Sherwood MW)

Lukas Van Loggerenberg Trust Your Gut Chenin Blanc 2021, WO Western Cape, 13% Abv.

About 60% of the grapes for this superb wine were sourced from the Paardeberg and 40% from the Polkadraai Hills ward in Stellenbosch. The aromatics display a notable crushed gravel minerality with hints of struck-match reduction before notes of pineapple, ripe pears, white peach, wet straw and dried herb nuances. As always, the palate is beautifully intense and concentrated possessing impressive phenolic structure together with a bright vibrant acidity. It is striking how Lukas harnesses such power, intensity and depth of flavour at a modest 13% alcohol, reaffirming his real mastery of the Chenin Blanc grape. Drink this on release or cellar for 8 to 10+ years.

(Wine Safari Score: 96/100 Greg Sherwood MW)

Lukas Van Loggerenberg Graft Syrah 2021, WO Stellenbosch, 13.5% Abv.

Made from higher altitude grapes sourced in the Karibib vineyard, this 2021 is an incredibly special Syrah creation with complex perfumed aromatics of violets, lilies, sweet red cherries, crushed raspberries over spicy black pepper, dried herbs, fynbos and savoury black berries. This is a spellbinding wine with overt precision, translucent purity of fruit, fabulous focus and seamless tannins. A really classy, chiselled wine displaying effortless balance and power. Very, very impressive indeed.

(Wine Safari Score: 98/100 Greg Sherwood MW)

The Lukas Van Loggerenberg wines are available to the UK trade from importer Dreyfus Ashby or to retail customers from specialist South African merchant Museum Wines. http://www.museumwines.co.uk

Carinus Family Vineyards Release Some of Their Most Exciting Wines Yet…

I first met Danie Carinus back in 2018 when I popped over to taste Lukas van Loggerenberg’s 2017 releases. It soon became evident that the fruit from cousins Danie and Hugo Carinus, the 5th generation growers with prime vineyards in the Swartland, Devon Valley and the Polkadraai Hills ward in Stellenbosch, were supplying some of the most sought after grapes to some of the top producers in the country.

Great wine is of course made in the vineyards and for many years, the Carinus family have been supplying a veritable who’s who of top producers including names like Alheit Vineyards, Crystallum, Raats Family Wines, Thorne & Daughters and Mulderbosch to name but a few.

Tasting with Danie Carinus in February.

Embodying the drive of the new generation Hugo and Danie decided not only to sell grapes and have other people make great wines from them but to make some wine too. So started Carinus Family Vineyards using a selection of grapes from their 100s of hectares to focus on what works in each area. The winemaking of the Carinus Family Vineyards has until now, been overseen by the rock star winemaking talent, Lukas van Loggerenberg, who has helped capture the very best quality from the wide array of fruit available.

I caught up with Lukas and Danie recently in South Africa to taste through their exceptional range of new wines.

Carinus Family Vineyards Chenin Blanc 2019, WO Swartland, 13 Abv.

From cousin Hugo Carinus’ vineyards in the Swartland from a 7 hectare block that is split between this wine and the Rooidraai Chenin Blanc. It spends 10 months in old French oak barrels with the more forward, accessible barrels going into this blend. Again, multiple pickings were employed to ensure a fine fresh acidity and lower pHs. The nose has all the hallmark dusty granitic notes with a parallel complexity of richer, earthy yellow orchard fruit notes from the richer Clovelly and Hutton soils at 300 metres altitude. Plush, fleshy and opulent with a creamy glycerol mouthfeel, this wine is finely textured and boasts attractive juicy yellow stone fruit concentration, pear purée nuances and a stony spicy fynbos finish. Lovely length and purity. Excellent value for money!

(Wine Safari Score: 92/100 Greg Sherwood MW)

Carinus Family Vineyards Rooidraai Chenin Blanc 2019, WO Swartland, 13 Abv.

If the Carinus Chenin Blanc is from the “premier cru” rows, this wine is from the “grand cru” rows as Danie Carinus describes them. Generally a different portion of the vineyard as well as a partial barrel selection of wines showing more intensity, minerality and tension. Aromatics show lemon herbs, lime peel, wet granite and white citrus. The palate follows with lemon and lime cordial, earthy pithy yellow orchard fruits and grilled herbs. Fabulous rasping tension, pithy, grippy phenolics and an overall intensity and serious Chenin Blanc austerity with mouth watering freshness. Very classy.

(Wine Safari Score: 94/100 Greg Sherwood MW)

Carinus Family Vineyards Polkadraai Chenin Blanc 2018, WO Polkadraai Hills, 13 Abv.

A naturally fermented Chenin Blanc that was matured in concrete egg… well, of course it was! What else would you expect from Chenin maestro and guest winemaker Chris Alheit?! The aromatics are unsurprisingly taut, mineral and relatively austere coming from Chenin grapes grown on decomposed granite soils. But a little coaxing starts to reveal complex notes of crunchy white peaches, tangerine peel, wet straw and sweet honeysuckle. A wine that was apparently quite reductive on release, it has now shed its struck match veil to show beautiful pithy yellow stone fruit nuances, stony liquid minerality, masses of textural linearity and a fabulously sleek, steely, tart white citrus finish. Pleasantly piquant with a slightly bitter bite, this wine is seductively austere yet refreshingly mouthwatering. Fabulous! A convergence of great fruit and a great winemaking! Drink now and over the next 15+ years.

(Wine Safari Score: 94+/100 Greg Sherwood MW)

Carinus Family Vineyards Polkadraai Chenin Blanc 2019, WO Polkadraai Hills, 13 Abv.

The second vintage of this wine made by Butch Alheit from one of the smallest wards in Stellenbosch. Quite different to the Swartland Rooidraai, this wine boasts a tart, bright, lifted freshness and a beautiful expressive mineral tension. Constructed again from one concrete egg and one old barrel to produce 1800 bottles, this wine is punchy and pure, steely and focused with notes of lime cordial, crunchy white peach, tart green apple and taut white citrus and sea breeze salinity. Fabulous energy, vivacity and focus. Really very impressive indeed.

(Wine Safari Score: 95+/100 Greg Sherwood MW)

Carinus Family Vineyards Syrah 2019, WO Polkadraai Hills, 12.5 Abv.

Pure Syrah grown on sandy decomposed granite soils from 26 year old vines. Originally planted for mechanical harvesting but is now carefully nurtured and cared for allowing grapes that yield incredible perfumed fragrance, cherry blossom, graphite and incense nuances, wet slate and granitic minerality. Beautifully old world in style boasting freshness and minerality, restraint and brightness of fruit. Lovely red berry intensity, purity and olive tapenade complexity, this really is a fabulous wine with plenty of energy and appeal. If you like your Syrahs fresher and purer but less savoury and meaty, you will absolutely love this expression.

(Wine Safari Score: 92+/100 Greg Sherwood MW)