Lost and Found is straw wine made from an ancient Hanepoot (Muscat Alexandrie) vineyard. This is a once-off wine for us, and a wine of great personal significance for me. It is the last vintage farmed by the De Wet/Boonzaaier family, who lived on and farmed Gevonden for six generations.
Lost and found
Breede River Valley,South Africa,
Bottle size: 375 ml,
In The Cellar
The 2019 vintage saw a good size crop that attained full ripeness by mid-March. We spread the grapes on wooden racks and on shade cloth, allowing them to dry outdoors for a full two weeks. We pressed the resulting raisins for five days at full pressure, yielding syrup with a sugar concentration of around 54 Brix (54% mass/volume). This juice fermented for more than a year in stainless steel, finally becoming stable at just over 7% alc with a residual sugar of around 450g/l.
In The Vineyard
Gevonden is not far from Rawsonville at the spot where the sheers cliffs of Du Toitskloof open into the Breedekloof. The three-century old farmhouse lies just across the Moolenaars river, tucked up against the mountains. Right in front of the old farmhouse is a vineyard considered by many to be the oldest commercially productive parcel of vines in South Africa. In the Cape, record keeping of vineyard planting dates started in 1900, so unfortunately nothing can officially pre-date that year. We do know that Gevonden was recorded as being in production by 1900. According to the De Wet/Boonzaaier family history, these Hanepoot vines were in fact planted by one Jacobus Hendrik Stofberg De Wet in the year of our Lord, 1882. The soil is light alluvial sand and loam over river stones.
"Looking at this rich, unctuous wine in the glass is akin to gazing through an ancient piece of Jurassic fossilized amber – ripe, captivating and most definitely warmly inviting. But this is no normal sweet wine and one sniff of the rich, ripe, potent aromatics reveals an enchanting bouquet of freshly boiled marmalade jam, green mango preserve, barley sugar, sweet herbs, wet straw and dried apricots. Give the dense, glycerol wine another slow swirl in a big Zalto Bordeaux bowl and it shifts gears again to offer yet more pithy orange peel nuances and seductive notes of quince jelly, pressed grapes and burnt caramel. Like some of South Africa’s other truly great sweet wines, the aromatics are so complex and seductive that you almost forget to sip the wine! Incredibly viscous and fleshy on the palate with a round glycerol opulence, there is no suggestion at any point that this wine is going to be overly sweet and clawing with its 450 g/l RS. In fact the sweetness is kept smartly in check by a searing acidity that scythes through the caramel and barley sugar laden fruit layers with samurai sword precision. The finish is gloriously mouth coating, hedonistic and persistent with just the most subtle sappy, pithy, bitter orange peel vermouth twang. An incredible vinous expression that represents an unbelievable journey of not only all those who have farmed this block over the decades, but also of the vines themself. A fine wine that will undoubtedly endure and outlive most of us who are tasting it now. Some of the most desirable decadence available in a bottle." (98+/100 Greg Sherwood MW)