Lost and Found is straw wine made from an ancient Hanepoot (Muscat Alexandrie) vineyard. This is a one-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.
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.
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.
It sits in the glass like a smouldering ember, joyous, full of sunshine, reeking of apricots and marmalade fireworks. It tastes completely decadent: Fiery and silky; sweet and sour. I hope I live long enough to taste it after a few decades in bottle.
RS: 450 g/litre
TA: 8.5 g/litre
The Name: Lost & Found works on many levels, both vinous and personal. We once were lost and now are found. The parcel was ours to work with long ago, and we lost it – only to recover it again years later. The name of the farm means Found, but now it seems that all is lost with the emigration of the owners and the end of their relationship with the land.