Lovane Serves its Guests Well
LOVANE BOUTIQUE WINE ESTATE AND GUEST HOUSE
Tuesday 20 August 2019
Dr Peter Rating – Experience: 3.5/5
Dr Peter Rating – Wines: 3.5/5
Blink as you hurtle along the R310 between Stellenbosch and the N2 and you will likely miss Lovane, unless you’re staying at the Guest House or attending a conference at the boutique wine estate. Visible between the trees beyond the surrounding vineyards from Baden Powell Drive, Lovane sits at the start of the Polkadraai Road that leads to the wine estates of Stellenbosch Kloof Road, to Overgaauw, Super Single Vineyards, De Waal Wines, Jordan Wine Estate and DeMorgenzon. Lovane is not the first or only guest house-cum-wine-estate. Alluvia, Clouds, La Bourgogne, Le Manoir de Brendel, Le Pommier, Manley and Rosendal all come to mind, each with their own balance between guest accommodation and wines, some with their own vineyards.
Lovane is a well-placed and popular guest house with accommodation for up to 32 guests in 16 rooms. The venue also offers Conference and Function facilities for similar numbers. It also makes a small range of wines from the 2.5 hectares of vineyards planted with Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot, supplemented by bought-in grapes of other cultivars bought in from neighbours with similar terroir. The vines were planted in 2000, initially to sell grapes to local wine estates, but a change in ownership by new owners and winemaking couple Hennie and Theresa Visser led to the decision to make wine under the Lovane label. The Tasting Room is in the cosy underground cellar that adjoins the maturation cellar. Zonica was my chatty and knowledgeable host (R30 for 4 to 5 wines, waived on bottle purchase).
I began with a pale, shiny and fresh Sauvignon Blanc that was good value for R95. Made in herbaceous style, the wine showed asparagus, bell pepper and herbal notes with a good intensity. This was matched by a refreshing, crisp acidity with a good finish. The Theresa Rosé, or rather Blanc de Noir, was made using 2 clones of Cabernet Sauvignon (#46 for acid retention and #37/63 for fruit flavour). Skin contact was minimal, just 1 hour, with the free run juice making a very pale salmon coloured wine with aromas of fresh ripe strawberries together with a delicate white blossom and sweet candy. The wine was simple on the palate with some sweetness for an off-dry taste.
I preferred the full-bodied and deep ruby Cabernet Sauvignon that was aged for 2 years in 25% new French oak. This was a much better use of the grapes, giving a rich more-dark-than-red-fruit wine with classic flavours of dark plum, blackberry, mulberry, cassis, menthol and mint. Youthful tannins were taut enough for structure and to balance the ripe fruits and will improve with age.
The flagship Isikhati (Zulu for ‘time’) Bordeaux-style blend was made from the 3 red cultivars grown on the property. Cabernet Sauvignon-led (79%), the added Cabernet Franc brought a softer and more approachable wine, with greater perfumed cherry complexity and softer tannins with a good intensity on the palate. I also sampled a full-bodied and deep ruby Pinotage/Petit Verdot. This is a very uncommon blend with the Pinotage bought in from Neethlingshof. As expected, ripe fruity Pinotage brought aromas of plum, cherry and spice whilst the Petit Verdot brought intensity of colour and flavour. The wine surprised with toasty, coffee, chocolate flavours on the palate – most likely barrel-influence – that was well structured but smoother than I expected.
I ended the tasting with a Cape Vintage Port unusually made solely with Cabernet Sauvignon, matured in French oak for 24 months. The port had a simple nose of dark berries and raisins but came alive on the palate, which was fresh fruity with a good balance between the fruits, sweetness (RS 95 g/l) and tannins.
Lovane – branded as LovanE – was well worth a visit even if solely for wine tasting. The range of affordable wines covers all bases – from sparkling (I did not taste the MCC) to white to rosé to single variety red and red blend to dessert – that I am sure serves the staying, conference and function guests well. The tasting was relaxed and informal and the setting perfect to showcase the wines.
Wines tasted (bought *):
2019 Sauvignon Blanc – R95*
2019 Theresa Blanc de Noir – R95
2016 Cabernet Sauvignon – R150
2016 Isikhati (79% Cabernet Sauvignon, 19% Cabernet Franc, 5% Petit Verdot) – R160 FAVOURITE WINE
2017 Pinotage/Petit Verdot (67% Pinotage, 33% Petit Verdot) – R190
2016 Cape Vintage (375 ml) – R180*