Lanzerac. I can’t even remember a time when I did not know that name. Admittedly, it was probably because the Lanzerac rosé was the wine to drink back in the day. Even though I was a kid, I would have seen that characteristic bottle countless times. The rosé is not sweet anymore, and the style of the bottle has been modernised, but I’m sure you still recognise it, just as I do.
Lanzerac. The name has always been so familiar, yet quite devoid of association for me. Apart from the famous rosé, I did not know anything about Lanzerac as I had never visited the estate. If you had asked me where it was, I would have guessed Stellenbosch and I would have been correct. But I guess Stellenbosch for any estate I don’t know because one has a greater chance of being right!
So when I was invited to visit the Lanzerac estate, I had to take up the offer. Especially when the invitation included a cellar tour, wine tasting, hotel tour, lunch and a treatment of my choice at the spa! I had to take a full day out of my busy schedule to visit this wine estate so that I could tell you about it, dear reader.
Seeing as we’ve already mentioned the rosé, let’s talk about the wines. Firstly, I can tell you that the rosé is actually delicious. Secondly, the rosé forms part of the entry level Alma Mater range, along with a shiraz and a chenin blanc, all bottled in that famous Lanzerac shape bottle. So things just get better and better. The Premium Range has 6 delicious wines, including a delicious MCC. The 3 flagship wines (‘flagship’ is a French word meaning very expensive, but worth it) form the Heritage Range. When they asked us which wine we wanted with lunch, we obviously chose only from the Heritage Range! The Mrs English chardonnay (R280) is absolutely spectacular and goes well with lunch 🙂
What’s interesting about the wine experience at Lanzerac, apart from the fact that the wine tasting area is beautiful, is that the wines are paired with specially made chocolates. Now I know that there are a bunch of places doing wine and chocolate pairings now, but I can tell you honestly that these are the best chocolate and wine pairings I’ve ever had. They redo them each year to make sure the chocolate pairs well with the current vintage. They even have a kiddies pairing, chocolates paired with grape juice.
We also did a tour of the wine cellar, which is when I realised that Lanzerac is a serious player. They produce huge volumes of wine. Just the chardonnay cellar is bigger than the entire production at many smaller wine farms!
Hotel & Events
I said that the wine tasting area is beautiful, but you’re going to hear me say that a lot because since Lanzerac changed ownership 2 years ago, they have been steadily revamping it. In fact, when we were shown the hotel rooms they were in the process of being revamped (probably about 80% done), and I was very impressed with what I saw. The rooms are quite big and the bathroom is a highlight with a free standing Victorian style bath in the middle with toilet and shower behind frosted glass to the one side. The furnishings are modern pieces with Victorian styling, but not overly ornate. The decor gives the room an opulent feel, while still obviously modern, even trendy.
When I heard the prices, I was really surprised. It’s very reasonable for a 5 star hotel, even if the rooms were not as fabulous as I just told you they are. If you’re needing to stay over in Stellenbosch, I highly recommend you add Lanzerac hotel to your list of options.
There is a reason Lanzerac is synonymous with weddings. Apart from the convenience of the hotel accommodation and spa facilities, both the outdoor and indoor function areas are really impressive. Imagine pre-drinks around the pool (one of the 3 outdoor pools!), then ceremony on the lawn and reception in a marquee or Bedouin style tent, can cater for up to 250 people. Alternatively the indoor function venue with its courtyard is perfect for events during winter months, catering for up to 140. Obviously these facilities are not just for weddings, they are ideal for various types of functions.
Restaurants, Lounges & Bars
We enjoyed lunch in The Terrace restaurant, which was the perfect option on a warm, summery day. The view of the manicured lawns and mountain tops peeking over the tops of the Cape Dutch style buildings is good for the soul. As was that delicious chardonnay!
My pork belly main served with celriac & chive puree, Asian slaw, honey jus and herb sauteed peaches, was the best pork belly I’ve had in a long time. That dish really impressed me, but all the food was excellent. For starters, I tried the pan fried Canadian scallops with pulled pork tortellini, exotic mushrooms & cardamom spiced butternut. The other option was a pinotage poached pear and caramelised walnut salad with avocado, shaved pecorino, rocket & soft boiled egg. For mains I had that amazing pork belly, the other option was the blackened flaked Scottish salmon on pea, basil & avocado risotto with rainbow beets and orange compote.
Dessert was decadent. I couldn’t decide which I preferred, the dark chocolate mousse with Turkish delight caviar, caramelia Aero and Kataifi crisp or the blueberry & hazelnut cheesecake with mini profiteroles filled with Tonka creme Anglaise and verjuice syrup. Ok, I lie, the chocolate mousse was my favourite!
The terrace might be the perfect spot in summer, but en route to the Terrace we walked through several lounges and bars which convinced me I actually want my next visit to be in winter! The cosiest lounges with fireplaces, the most inviting bars with barmen that have worked there for decades and the sophisticated dining room for long winter lunches and dinners. I can’t wait to settle into those comfortable chairs, sipping delicious Lanzerac red wine with the fire crackling in front of me.
A new addition to Lanzerac since the revamp is the deli. A great option for a casual lunch or some coffee and cake. Apart from the freshly baked breads and pastries, there is a well-curated selection of condiments. I spotted some great local olive oils, some delicious looking jams and a favourite of mine, chilli sauces!
Spa & Hydro
Hotel guests have access to the hydro facilities 24 hours of the day. That includes the indoor pool with glorious views of the vineyards outside, as well as the sauna and hydro-jet whirlpool bath. For more serious self-indulgence, the spa offers an extensive list of experiences available individually or as part of a package. We enjoyed a 30 minute shoulder and back massage, followed by a pedicure. I could have relaxed in the hydro, looking out over the view for the rest of the afternoon.
The spa was about to be revamped when we were there. Based on how the rest of the estate is looking, I’m confident it is going to look absolutely stunning.
Lanzerac. The name no longer lacks association for me. When I hear it now I think of style, elegance and luxury. I think of amazing wines, delicious food and beautiful spaces. Lanzerac is a place where I want to be, summer or winter, it’s calling me.
See my photos from the day here.