SA wines classic well worth rediscovering

TASTE OF SA HISTORY: The farmhouse at Landskroon on the slopes of Paarl Mountain
vine22 TASTE OF SA HISTORY: The farmhouse at Landskroon on the slopes of Paarl Mountain
Image: supplied
PICTURE PERFECT: Landskroon, the home of well-made wines.
vine2202 PICTURE PERFECT: Landskroon, the home of well-made wines.
Image: supplied

Landskroon is one of those venerable names in SA wine that sometimes takes a quiet back seat amid all the clutter of bright new brands shouting for attention from the wine shop shelves, but it’s well worth rediscovering.

The De Villiers family have farmed the estate on the slopes of the Paarl Mountain for five generations, with Paul the sixth now in charge as cellar master and various family members involved in the viticulture, marketing and running of the operation.

They’re the ninth generation descended from Jacques de Villiers, one of the first Huguenots to arrive at the Cape in 1689, and the original owner of Boschendal, where the family lived until Paul the second bought part of what is now Landskroon in 1874.

His great-great-grandsons Paul and Hugo are now the owners of this piece of land intimately woven into Cape history.

Red wine has always been the big focus at Landskroon, with more than 90% of the vineyards devoted to red cultivars, so it’s worth seeking out the Paul de Villiers Reserve to experience the flagship of their red wine-making.

A Bordeaux blend of mostly cabernet sauvignon, 30% cabernet franc and the rest merlot, the wine is just so well-made. The 2017, with 4.5 Platter’s stars, is graceful but substantial, full-bodied and complex, full of ripe berry and cassis flavours and lovely cedar and pencil-shaving aromas.

Drinking well now, it will certainly mellow with ageing, and is a bargain really at R130 (cellar door).

The 2017 Merlot (R78) has subtle spice and lush vanilla, and loads of ripe berries, plumminess and floral notes — in a word, delicious.

The just off-dry (definitely not sweet) Pinotage Blanc de Noir 2019 (R54), a winner in the Pinotage Rosé awards, is a great summery sundowner or pool wine — easy drinking and flavourful with florals and ripe fruit, and touch of cranberry to lift it out of softness.

Also easy drinking, but not one-dimensional at all, Landskroon Sauvignon Blanc 2019 (R62) opens with grassy, green fig flavours and moves into lightly tropical, with a zesty acid streak zipping through it for a dash of excitement. I really enjoyed this one.

And there’s a whole lot more worth exploring in the Paul de Villiers premium range and the easy, everyday Landskroon range. Let the new brands take a back seat for a while and taste some Cape history instead for a change.