Vondeling, meaning ‘foundling’, lies on the slopes of the unspoilt and undiscovered Paardeberg mountain, not far from Cape Town. It was granted to Swedish immigrant Oloff Bergh in 1704, who started a three-centuries-old winemaking tradition. Today, an environmentally sensitive approach to farming and minimal intervention during the winemaking process ensure wines with a distinct fingerprint of origin.
This wine is made from a single vineyard of Muscat d’Frontignan. The winemaking begins in the vineyard. When the acidity and sugar are in perfect harmony, the stem of each bunch is individually crimped to isolate the bunch from the vine. The crimping process stops the supply of water to the bunch, causing the berries to dessicate on the vine. Crimping is done before the grapes are 100% ripe and still high in natural acidity. The crimping process concentrates the sugar and the acidity of the berries and takes up to two weeks. The grapes are naturally protected from the sun by the vine canopy and air movement across the berries stops moulds and funghi from forming while they are drying. Finally, the fruit is ready for picking.
The dried grapes are hand-picked and chilled overnight. They are then destemmed, but not crushed, directly to open top fermenters. Here the berries are fermented much like a red wine, with periodic punch downs, to extract all the syrupy juice from inside. This method adds structure to the wine and the light tannins help to preserve fruity freshness. After approximately one week on the skins, they are pressed and fermentation is completed in tank. Fermentation stops naturally when the combination of high acidity, increasing alcohol and concentrated sugar finally becomes too inhibitory for the yeast. The wine is aged for 11 months on the gross lees before it is bottled.
The wine displays a golden to light amber colour. It has a perfumed nose of bright pineapple, ripe apricot, honeyed marmalade and seductive rose petal. These heady aromas are supported by orange blossom, jasmine and wild rosemary. The nose carries through to the taste, where the mouth-watering sweetness is cut by a tangy acidity, which ensures a persistent and refreshing finish. This is a naturally fermented and unfortified wine, and allows for many delightful treats, which may incl. savoury duck liver pate, sweet spice-laced puddings and traditional soft cheeses. Serve chilled and don’t wait for dessert!