Tasting the Tradition in the Robertson Wine Valley proved to be an unforgettable experience, granting us access to vineyards we’d yet to explore. It was an opportunity to be captivated in the rustic charm of country life, each winery boasting its distinct, personal touch.
Our standout memory was at Lozärn, where we joined the Smuts family for a quintessential South African braai, set in their enchanting cellar. Salóme Buys-Vermeulen, the talented winemaker, guided us through their collection, with special emphasis on their renowned Carménère.
Nestled firmly in Bonnievale within the Robertson Wine Valley, Lozarn Wines is a story woven around the matriarch Kathleen May, affectionately known as Granny Kay. Her lineage traced back to Captain James Sedgwick, the visionary behind Sedgwick’s Old Brown sherry. Kathleen’s journey began in Fish Hoek, followed by studies in England and a relocation to Germany. However, the outbreak of World War I led her, along with her mother and sister, to Lucerne in Switzerland, a city that held a special place in her heart as it marked their new beginning.
It’s from Lucerne that the name “Lozärn” was derived, pronounced in Swiss-German style, and their labels featured a distinctive skeletal duck image. To pay homage to Granny Kay, they crafted a fine Bordeaux-style red blend, aptly named Kay’s Legacy.
Kathleen May’s marriage to Sebastian Smuts took them from Harare, Zimbabwe, to Somerset West. Sebastian managed the vast Vergelegen estate, but Kay’s desire to farm led them to purchase a farm near Bon Courage in the Robertson valley in 1923. It was named Lucerne, echoing her fond memories of the Swiss city. Kay primarily farmed ducks and chickens, and the introduction of a canal system in the late 1800s transformed the valley into a hub for fruit and vegetable farming.
Our visit began with a delightful Lozärn Sebastian Chardonnay 2022, a dedication to Sebastian Smuts. This 100% Chardonnay impressed with its refreshing citrus notes, balanced acidity and the depth acquired from oak aging.
Lozärn Kay’s Legacy 2019 paid tribute to Granny Kay, a Bordeaux-inspired blend of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Carménère. Merlot and Cabernet Franc contributed intense fruit flavors, while Cabernet Sauvignon and Carménère added structure and complexity, thanks to 15 months in French oak barrels.
Lozärn Cabernet Franc captivated with its unique terroir, deeply rooted in Robertson’s cool clay soils. Gripping tannins and green peppercorn undertones harmonized with ripe black fruit. We also enjoyed a delightful Malbec, where notes of blueberry and plum danced on the palate.
In 2012, winemaker Salome’s encounter with a Chilean Carménère marked the beginning of a love story. Two years later, a Carménère vineyard was planted, yielding both a single-varietal Carménère and a Carménère Rosé.
Once a forgotten grape variety in Bordeaux blends, Carménère found its way to Chile, where it was mistakenly identified as Merlot for over a century. Dark crimson in colour, it displays ripe black cherry and plum aromas, followed by earthy, spicy notes. Rich and powerful, with soft tannins and balanced acidity, its finish lingered with dark chocolate notes.
A visit to Lozärn Wines is an absolute must, but remember to book in advance, as this winery operates by appointment only.
Categories: Lozärn Wines