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The grapes are picked across a great many vineyards and taken into our cold room on arrival at the cellar. The next day the grapes are sorted and the whole bunches go into the press. The pressing lasts 2 - 3 hours and in that period a margin of settling of the juice takes place in the collecting tank. The turbid juice is then transferred to concrete eggs of 725 litres and 400 – 1200 litre clay amphoras for the next stage of natural fermentation. The fermentation temperatures in the clay amphorae and the concrete eggs are very constant and we only control the ambient temperature at around 18 degrees throughout the season. Each wine basically ferments in its own time – in some cases it may take up to 18 months - and every vineyard is fermented in the same vessel every year. The Palladius matures in these vessels for 12 months and is then racked off into big old foudres for an additional 12 months ageing prior to bottling. After two years the wine is bottled unfined and unfiltered. The Palladius arguably displays the most complex of aromas: not only is the wine very fresh, bright green-edge apple fruit but then goes into stone fruit and exits with tropical aromatics.
Pair with a Moroccan chicken tagine or a spiced, roast pork shoulder.
Varietal / Blend: Chenin Blanc, Grenache Blanc, Clairette Blanche, Viognier, Verdelho, Roussanne, Marsanne, Semillon Gris, Semillon Blanc, Palomino & Colombard
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.