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, 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 Verlore Bokooi (translates as "the lost goat") is a marvellously enjoyable red wine, the 2016 vintage chosen as a "Hidden Gem" in the 2018 Platter's guide.
This non-vintage blend of the 2018 and 2019 vintages was made by celebrated young winemakers Lukas van Loggerenberg, Stephanie Wiid and Etienne Terblanche (the latter two aka Thistle & Weed), and blends Syrah, the farm's hallmark Tannat, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot. All varieties were fermented naturally and separately, some whole bunch and some de-stemmed. Aged for 8 months in old French oak barrels.
Powerful red fruit flavours with herbal aroma (think rosemary), dark olive tapenade notes and a hint of liquorice. There's a minty quality to it, and dark chocolate on the finish with lingering sparks of white pepper. A wine for all occasions - this Bokooi hits the sweet spot between elegance, complexity and drinkability.
Click here for tasting notes