Two American exchange students in South Africa in 2014 found a country that made an incredible impression on them. The people, the history and the remote Wild Coast, Mandela’s birthplace left an indelible mark on their time there, and little did they know; their futures. Over a week long backpacking expedition the two men were befriended, and shadowed by a local stray dog, that the locals called Lubanzi. The dog became their companion on their 100 mile trek, only to disappear at the end of their journey.
Fast forward two years and perhaps struck by their visit together Brian and Walker have returned to South Africa to build their business, named for their erstwhile canine companion. Lubanzi produces two South African wines, a Chenin Blanc which of course the region is known for and a red Rhone style blend. They’ve partnered with winemakers Trizanne Bernard and Jack Bruce, who also surf by the way. In addition to the wines that they’re producing, and the beautiful packaging, perhaps most importantly, half of the proceeds of the Lubanzi wines go to the Pebbles Project. An NGO that serves families who live and work on the wine vineyards throughout South African’s Western Cape.
From fruit sourced in the Swartland region of South Africa. The region itself is a compelling story, it was somewhat abandoned as the South African wine boom had its eyes on Stellenbosch. The vines grew wild, and these days Swartland is one of South Africa’s sexiest rediscovered regions. Fermented completely in steel this is a steely white wine, that balances freshness with layers of fruit at a very nice price point. Aromatics of ripe stone fruits, think apricots and nectarine, and a touch of mint. The palate is loaded with fruits of the tropical and citrus variety when an emphatic key lime flavor. The acidity is prominent but there is a touch of textured roundness as well.
A nicely priced robust red wine from the Coastal Region of South Africa, with lots of freshness. The blend is predominantly Syrah, they’d call it Shiraz, along with Cinsault, Mourvedre and just a dab of Grenache. Generous sweet berry aromas mix with hints of evergreen aromas. The palate is a dollop of fresh black fruit and slight notes of garrigue. There is an overwhelming freshness to this wine making it a natural to pop in the fridge for about ten minutes before you dig into the barbecue.