Lowerland Die Wonderdraai 2019
White | Ready, but will keep | Lowerland | 2019 | South Africa > Northern Cape > Prieska | Colombard (62%), Chenin Blanc (38%) | Full Bodied, Dry | 14.1% abv
Bertie Coetzee represents the sixth generation of his family to farm at Lowerland, on the banks of the broad Orange River near Prieska in the Northern Cape.
Let’s not beat around the bush: this is not traditional wine country. The main crops are maize and plump, melt-in-your-mouth pecans, alongside an award-winning beef stud; but in 1999 the first grapevines were planted by Bertie’s father Hennie, literally sowing the seeds for a game changing endeavour continued by Bertie after he joined the farm in 2013.
The desert-like climate is peculiar, being at approximately 29 degrees south so on the outer limits of what’s considered prime viticultural latitude, but the African heat is moderated by over 1,000 metres of altitude and consequentially high diurnal range. Summer rains can be problematic but generally conditions are dry and therefore favourable for organic farming, with the vineyards certified by Ecocert.
Bertie and his team are striving for a holistic, regenerative model of farming, converting all land to organic practices. Bertie has worked tirelessly to put Prieska on the South African wine map and gain approval for Wine of Origin status, a landmark achievement for what is – if anything – a rudimentary bulk wine region.
Die Wonderdraai (the "wondrous turn") is named after the bend in the great Orange River that envelops Lowerland. You can marvel at it from Bertie's stoep, perched on a low hill. The blend is their famous Colombard, with a bit of Chenin Blanc from the neighbouring farm, Remhoogte. These are hand-picked and driven 12 hours south to Stellenbosch, where the wine was made by Lukas van Loggerenberg and the Thistle & Weed team of Stephanie Wiid and Etienne Terblanche.
It's an amazing wine, one of our favourite finds of the year! Co-fermented naturally in old French oak barrels, it is full of flavour and mouthfeel. Crisp, autumnal aroma of wheat, citrus preserves and toffee apple. Then dried fruit and freshly baked bread, followed by fresh mandarin and hallmark salinity of great South African Chenin, meeting a creamy, rounded texture. So beautifully integrated and a joy to drink.