It’s the middle of winter and the country is experiencing freezing conditions from the icy winds, cold rains and snowfalls. Keeping warm is important and means wearing layers of extra clothing, snuggling under the duvet, enjoying the warmth from the log fire and preparing delicious winter foods like stews, casseroles, steaming bowls of pasta or hearty soups.
In this weather, wine imbibers are enjoying fuller bodied reds, some of which they carefully matured in their wine cupboard or cellar. However, although we are drinking more reds at this time, we certainly don’t stop enjoying a glass or two of white wine but perhaps these too would be fuller and richer in style.
Wooded whites, like Chardonnay, Viognier and Chenin Blanc, develop finesse and complexity thanks to their time spent aging in oak. Good white wines, both wooded and unwooded, that have been left to age for a few years can also develop a wonderful silky complexity and become excellent pairing partners with richer foods.
Lazanou Organic Vineyards produce a balanced range of both red and white wines and it is their white wines that I particularly enjoy during the colder months.
I have also bought these wines to age in my cellar and a few years ago I bought some of their unwooded Chenin Blanc 2008. When I tried the it in 2009 the wine impressed with its rich apple and lime flavours from spending time on the lees.
Last week I opened a bottle of the same vintage and found the wine had developed gorgeous quince and baked apple aromas with the flavours just a touch richer and silkier than before. We enjoyed it with a creamy chicken and mushroom pie.
Lazanou Organic Vineyards was started by Josef Lazarus and Candice Stephanou when they bought the farm in 2002. It had been operating as a plant nursery and at the time had only a tiny (0.6 hectare) vineyard of Chenin Blanc. Situated in the beautiful Wellington Valley, the farm is small with a total area of just over eight hectares.
Today, just over five hectares are under vine with varieties suitable to the microclimate found on the farm such as Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay, Viognier, Shiraz and Mourvedre. The remaining area includes cow pastures, olive groves, a fruit orchard and a bird sanctuary. Lazanou Organic Vineyards are certified organic producers with the Societe Generale de Surveillance and so international organic standards are practised in the vineyards and the cellar.
Last week I caught up with their recent vintages of whites and as usual they continued to please, especially with their consistent quality. As I needed to stock up on white wines I found the 2011 blend of Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay and Viognier blend most appropriate as I felt it could play the part of quaffing as well as enjoying with food, especially with creamy wintery soups. Having spent nine months on the lees the wine is silky smooth with creamy flavours of fresh pear and peach with a citrusy twist on the finish.
It’s Sunday lunch time and raining outside and I have lit the fire, poured out a bowl of hot potato and leek soup and have a glass of the Lazanou 2011 Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay and Viognier. Now to choose a suitable movie… Heaven!
Expect to pay: R74.00