Lubanzi Wines is named for a wandering dog who led the winemakers on a six-day journey along South Africa's Wild Coast. Founders Walker Brown and Charles Brain have only two wines in the line at the moment. One is a red blend, made of Shiraz, Cinsault, Grenache and Mourvedre and a white, which is 100% Chenin Blanc. Both South African creations retail at under $20.
Brown and Brain - not South African themselves - say they are working with two of the country's more noted winemakers. Trizanne Barnard and Bruce Jack were asked to be "forward-thinking, socially responsible and innovative" in making the Lubanzi wines. Brain says they're aiming at the millennial market, a demographic that he thinks has the buying power to lift South Africa's underrated status. He says they want to make a wine that "punches above its weight."
The owners are directing some of the proceeds back to those who helped make the product. Half of their profits will go towards The Pebbles Project, an NGO that works with low-income families on South Africa's wine farms. The back label claims "50% of the profits back to the hands that made it."
The Lubanzi red blend from South Africa’s Coastal Region features 46% Shiraz, 31% Cinsault, 20% Mourvèdre and 3% Grenache. The 13.5% abv is easy to take and the $18 price tag is almost shockingly low.
The Lubanzi red blend of South African Shiraz, Cinsault, Mourvèdre and Grenache is a dark ruby wine with a nose and palate to match. Aromas of dark fruit are joined by a strong minerality, with a slightly smoky, savory, leathery whiff above the glass. The palate is fruity in the most savory sense possible. Big black cherry and cassis meet up with earthy herbs and spices. It's a lively wine, with acidity to refresh and tannins to make pairing it with meaty dishes a natural. The twist-off cork makes it super easy to open.