Lubanzi is a brand new venture from Walker Brown and Charles Brain, designed to bring high-quality South African wine to the U.S. at affordable prices. Named after a stray dog who joined their 100 mile hike across South Africa’s Wild Coast, the brand donates 50% of profits to The Pebbles Project, a charity benefiting low-income families who work South Africa’s vineyards.
The bottles alone are intriguing, stoppered not with fully driven corks but with T-style corks that can be removed (and replaced) with just a firm hand.
Thoughts on both inaugural wines follow.
2016 Lubanzi Chenin Blanc – Lightly herbal and lightly sweet, this chenin is a tropical-heavy wine, with crisp lemon notes and some honeydew. Marshmallow sweetness lingers on the back end, with a reprise of those light herbal notes. Nothing too far outside the box here, but a nice pairing with seafood. B / $15
2015 Lubanzi Red Blend – A meaty blend of 46% shiraz, 31% cinsault, 20% mourvedre, and 3% grenache, this wine drinks with heavy notes of licorice, bacon, and roasted pork, with a tannic punch underneath. There’s fruit to be had, but give the wine time in glass, decant, or both, to reveal surprisingly lush notes of black cherry, brambly blackberry, and a gentle dusting of baking spice. Opens up nicely, given some room to spread its wings. B+ / $15