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Hand sorting of individual berries of the entire production in small “strawberry” cases. Fermentation takes place spontaneously in 3300 litre open concrete fermenters for about three weeks at a temperature of 24 °C and is then followed by a post-fermentation maceration of another three weeks. No additions are made to the fermenting wine. Pressing takes place in a traditional basket press and the wine is transferred to the barrel (5% new) for malolactic fermentation. The wine spends 12 months on the lees in tight-grain French oak barrels, just 5% of them new. The wine is then racked into big oval casks (foudres) for an additional year of maturation on the fine lees. After a total of two years the wine is bottled without fining or filtration. The wine is still very compact and in need of obvious ageing, but it is already showing great complexity in that the aromatics are not a singular line, but the coming together of many aspects. The aromas are a combination of bright fresh red fruits which then pass over to the riper black stone fruit. The wine is also very earthy and seems to live on a bed of freshly ploughed earth - and then there is the appearance of much darker graphite aromatics as well.
A lamb casserole done in a cast iron pot on the fire would be the perfect match.
Varietal / Blend: Syrah, Mourvèdre, Grenache, Carignan, Cinsaut & Tinta Barocca
Decant: We insist!
Farming Practices: Organic
The Sadie Family team work with roughly 30 hectares of vines, one-third of which are estate, with the other vines farmed entirely under their control. This is quite the undertaking when you consider, at their furthest point, the vineyards lie some 250 miles apart and are spread across 53 separate parcels. Then consider that everything is dry grown and organically farmed and that each parcel, having different geologies, aspects and often grape varieties, will require different management. These vines, (from overwhelmingly old parcels), lie mostly on the high-altitude slopes of Swartland’s Atlantic-influenced mountains, one hour north of Cape Town on the Western Cape.
The terroirs include Paardeberg Mountain (on granite), Riebeek Mountain (slate), Piquetberg (sandstone and quartz), Coastal Plain (chalk) and Malmesbury (Glenrosa clay). Further afield, several of the Old Vine Series plots fall outside of the Swartland WO, notably Soldaat in the Piekenierskloof highlands and the Skurfberg vineyards in Citrusdal Mountain. There are no chemical additives to either the vines or the soils—a philosophy which extends to the cellar. Sadie’s key challenge in the vineyard, he notes, is preserving the grape’s acidity, freshness and purity—a challenge that starts in the vineyards with building the (previously neglected) soils’ life through inter-planting and organic composting. Whatever he’s doing, it’s working as the wines lack for nothing when it comes to energy and freshness.