Champion Carmenère welcomes a Chardonnay companion

by | Jan 22, 2019 | Blog, Lifestyle, News

Just released by winemaker Salome Buys-Vermeulen the Lozärn Chardonnay 2018 is a maiden vintage.

What better way to greet a warm evening in 2019? Celebrate summer sunsets, al fresco weekend affairs and moonlight feasts with a glass of scintillating, captivating Lozärn Chardonnay.

Just released by winemaker Salome Buys-Vermeulen the Lozärn Chardonnay 2018 is a maiden vintage, and one that promises to complement the fine reds, award-winning rosé and sauvignon blanc that have won the cellar so many fans since their launch in late 2017.

Worthy of joining this distinctive range, the chardonnay is a natural addition, emanating, as it does, from a region renowned for its prized examples of this cultivar: Robertson has developed a fine reputation for its chardonnays both wooded and unwooded, offering winelovers a choice that also extends to variations in style. With the Lozärn chardonnay the winemaker has effectively blended grapes from two distinctly different soil types to create a wine that is harmoniously balanced: 80% of the berries came from shale or koffieklip in the Robertson area, which, after crushing, matured for seven months in oak barrels, mostly second fill. The remaining 20%, sourced from the clay soils of Bonnievale, were crushed and matured in stainless steel tanks.  The resulting blend offers classic chardonnay aromas of citrus and butterscotch, leading to layers of the same on the palate, backed by a crisp freshness. Hints of flint complement the backbone from the oak. Both a delicious aperitif and a wine that can be paired with a Milanese duck ragu.

Just 1100 bottles were produced, and the alcohol levels are kept at a moderate 13%. This wine is likely to go on improving in the bottle for up to five years if stored correctly, for those who have the willpower to squirrel a case or two away.  The RRP is R120.

Flagship of the Lozärn stable is the Carmenère 2017 an intriguing and inviting red that boasts an intercontinental history: Originally from the Bordeaux area where it was just about wiped out during the phylloxera outbreak in the late 19th century, cuttings survived, then thrived in Chile, where it has become that country’s signature grape. Some seven years ago a group of wineloving friends shared a bottle of Chilean Carmenère on a farm in the Robertson valley: Love at first sip translated to the planting of the first Carmenère vineyard in the area two years later. The second vintage is now available – delicious wafts of berry aromas precede flavours of cherry, plum, a hint of mocha. Classy, but approachable, offering fruit backed by unobtrusive tannins and occasional hints of mint. Its similarity to merlot will be picked up by consumers here, as they sip it in front of glowing coals before pairing it with lamb chops or slow-cooked lamb shank. It costs around R420 from good wine outlets.

The Lozärn story

Many are intrigued by the wraparound labels that add dark elegance to Lozärn’s labels, adorned as they are with the skeleton of a duck. The story revolves around family matriarch Kathleen May, Granny Kay as she was affectionately known, who started life in Fish Hoek about a century ago. Her childhood embraced both South Africa and Europe, but as young adults she and her sister escaped from Germany at the outbreak of World War 1 to settle in Switzerland in the city of Lucerne. Back in South Africa several years later Kay bought land in the Robertson valley and started producing ducks for the market. Her son added grapes and orchards when he took over the farm, and today one of his three sons, Grant Smuts now farms here, focussing on tomatoes and other fruits. Happily for winemaker Salome, who introduced them to Carmenère, wine production is also on the menu.  The Swiss-German version of the farm name – Lozärn – was chosen as the wine brand, and a skeletal image of a duck to illustrate the label.

The wines are notching up medals at local contests, including gold from Michelangelo for the crisp, savoury rosé, another Carmenère star. Salome Buys-Vermeulen, as dedicated and passionate as any winemaker, is now in her 11th year in the industry. She savours working solo, and is lucky that she can, as she is completely committed to making Lozärn wines an industry force with products that consumers love and her peers respect.

Visit the website at for more information. Stockists include Wine at the Mill, Wine Concepts Kloof, Vino Pronto, Hermanus Wine Village, Roeland Liquors and Caroline’s Fine wine.

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