When you imagine Lowerland wines, you cannot compare it to the luscious green rolling hills of Stellenbosch. As the label aptly states, the farm is found where the Bo-Karoo crashes head on into the Kalahari Dunes. The land is hard and unrelenting. Sand dunes and rocky hills are dotted over the farm with tufts of short grasses spread like a quilted blanket over the red soil.
The farm, Lowerland, is tucked into the red Kalahari dunes on the Northern bank of the Orange River, between the Doringberg mountains of Prieska and the rocky hills of Niekerkshoop. Lowerland is home to a mixed farming operation with a focus on conservation agriculture, closed loop, holistic systems and the creation of good soil, a healthy environment and unique products.
The farm came about in 1965 when Oupa Coenie Coetzee purchased it. Coenie, a seasoned farmer who practiced flood irrigation on grains and sultana grapes was also a Merino farmer and horse breeder. The farm started off as a sheep farm but soon moved into cattle farming. Coenie developed the farm until his son, Hennie, overhauled the process by introducing mechanized farming, founding the GWK agricultural company and installing a central pivot irrigation in the region. The farm has since gone through numerous transformations, the latest moving toward more conservationist agriculture and overall holistic management of the farm.
Wine production started back in 2013 on the farm under the watchful eye of Johnnie Caliz of Anura. The process was started with producing single barrels of each cultivar to identify the characteristics and potential of each. Tannat and Voignier turned out to be the hits and seeing as they flourished in the Northern Cape, they looked to make a hige impact on the wine map in South Africa. The well matured Bordeaux style could simply not be ignored though and that too had a place in the portfolio.
Ringing in a new era of wine in the country, Prieska was registered as a wine making region in 2015 and made wine history in the Northern Cape
The farm prides itself on doing something that no-one has done before; creating a beautiful wine off stubborn, unforgiving land. Using a high yield wine cultivar, table grapes and raisins, the farm unapologetically produces a wine that no other region can produce; a unique wine borne out of great grapes. With no chemical inputs or synthetic fertilizers, the grapes have perfect structure, good colours and perfect tannins.
The high altitude (1,000m above sea level), desert climate and cool evening breezes from the river creates a unique terroir for healthy grapes with compact berries, deep, complex fruit and a fresh, natural acidity.
The Lowerland Tolbos Tannat 2015 is Lowerland‘s first release of the year. Produced by Van Loggerenberg Wines, this whole-bunch, natural ferment wine was aged in mature French Oak for 14 months. The wine displays compelling aromas of black forest fruit followed by soft spiciness and a hint of tobacco leaf. The palate shows great concentration of flavours and a fine balance between tannins and acidity, creating a beautiful lengthy finish. A great feature of the wine is that it will age well, expectedly up to 11 years.
Look out for the upcoming releases: 2014 Herd Sire Reserve, a three-way blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot and Merlot, made by Johnnie Calitz from Anura. Release date: mid-July 2016. Later in the year, the Lowerland Witgat Viognier 2014, Lowerland Miskruier Merlot 2013, Lowerland Gompou Petit Verdot 2013 and HCO Red Blend 2013 will see the light.