Sadie by Sadie

Tasting Eben Sadie and David and Nadia Sadie’s latest releases wasn’t quite a side-by-side affair, being just two weeks apart, and close enough to get an idea of how 2021 has treated these two established producers.

Eben Sadie presenting his latest vintages

It is a fascinating vintage, one reason being it was out of the ordinary. Eben and David made two points which highlight this.

It is around April that Eben and winemaker, Paul Jordaan, assess the wines due for release later in the year, before writing up their always comprehensive notes. Speaking about the 2021 Ouwingerds range (signature wines, Columella and Palladius are released a year older), Eben said ‘We were stunned, the wines were completely silent.  We had to leave them 24 hours before they opened up.’ Their initial silence, Eben happily noted, ‘are usually wines with great potential.’

David & Nadia Sadie looking happy about their new releases

David introduced 2021 noting; ‘It was a vintage of patience. We started in March for the first time; we’ve usually finished by then.’

Good things came out of this much cooler year with its longer ripening time; low pHs, high acid and great concentration. The last of these, especially, confuses often expressing itself clearly in some wines and not at all in others. If David’s remark on 2021 being a vintage of patience, it needs patience from wine lovers too.

Chenin blanc is a theme common to both Sadies, though it will be only next year that the first Sadie Family Wines Swartland chenin, Rotsbank will make an appearance.

Ouwingerds Skurfberg and Mev Kirsten 2021 will both please those who like to know what they’ve got in their glass. The former concentrated, generous flavours, layered texture and a limey freshness. Mev Kirsten a feeling of suspended lightness with power, purity & endless length.

The Sadie Family Wines line up

David and Nadia Chenin Blanc is also richly aromatic, green and red apples and a stony note (from the granite soil?), the ripe flavours concentrated backed by a tight core.

If Rondervlei and Plat’bos have riper profiles and viscosity, they reveal nowhere as much as the straight chenin. Meanwhile Hoë-Steen and Skaliekop are reluctant debutants, saying very little for now; their undoubted character will unfold with time.

So it goes. Even though David and Nadia’s Aristagos has winning charm now with its pure, broad flavours, that intense core reminds it still has so much to give.  This doesn’t come by chance, even in a great vintage. The figures: nine varieties, 17 vineyards, 27 pickings, 15% in concrete for freshness, the rest in old oak.

Palladius might be a year older but relevant to vineyard care, understanding the end goal with varieties and winemaking, in a very different vintage, it captures richness, texture with a taut limey thread and no sense of heaviness. Eben believes this wine has seen the biggest paradigm shift. Like Columella, it expresses somewhereness rather than a blend of many varieties.

The variety probably causing the most conversation about 2021, at least in Eben’s case, is grenache noir or his Ouwingerds Soldaat. It’s been described as light and lean, unlike other vintages. Last year, my Platter description read; ‘concentrated with dense ripe flesh & fine tannins supporting vivid wild strawberry, earthy depths.’

This year’s non-Platter notes read: lighter, bright colour but intense, good ruby. Contained yet deep aromas; core intensity of wild strawberries and spice, lots of energy and freshness if still tightly coiled; dry, insistent fine tannins.’

Eben’s April notes remark on opening up the leaves around the overtly shaded bunches to avoid some of the greener, vegetal characteristics of the past. Also it has the brightest, most transparent colour to date, the freshness suggested by the colour carries through to the wine. The tannin is much more grippy than anticipated and this dense texture suggests the wine will need some aging.

David & Nadia Sadie’s new releases

Different from Soldaat 2020 and from David and Nadia’s 2021; this, a blend of five vineyards, provides aromatic depth and notable acidity with more ample texture, the two still needing to resolve; they surely will and become another Swartland stalwart.

I like to believe Soldaat will too, as well as all the other retiring quality 2021 youngsters (of course, not every wine is living up to this vintage hype).

The main point of these scribblings is don’t be impatient and don’t be disappointed if the wine says nothing on first taste. The best have so much going for them.


Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s