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The Sadie Family Wines
One of the rare South African fine wines to pierce the European-laden investors market, the Sadie Family, and their eponymous wine, have a lot to smile about.
The enfant terrible of Stellenbosch
Considered one of the leaders of South Africa’s growing movement of “new wave wines” interest in Eben Sadie’s wine has increased dramatically over the past few years. Considered something of an maverick in the industry, Sadie appears unaffected by his moniker; “I just work”, he says, typically outspoken. “I’m not interested in the others”. This attitude has earned him a reputation for being volatile, even difficult. He makes two vintages a year, one at home in his beloved Swartland, and one at his adopted home in Priorat, Spain, However, as is so often the case with superstars, we can allow him a little leeway for his idiosyncrasies. “Within a vintage it was obvious he was destined for great things,” says Charles Back, of The Spice Route Winery where Sadie began his viticultural career. “He’s a national asset”. Not owning any land himself (in South Africa, his Spanish wines are made from vines that he owns), Sadie looks closely at the parcels of terroir, rather in the same way one would in Burgundy. With five different soil types within a short distance of Sadie’s winery, one must never forget to expect the unexpected with one of his wines.
The old vines are the best
Best known for his Columella (the 2006, retailing at around €80 on the secondary market is unquestionably one of his best), Sadie also produces two excellent whites. His Palladius has an average aggregate score of 93/100 for all vintages, and his Mrs Kirsten’s Old Vines Chenin Blanc, produced from a single bush of 90-year old vines sold out in a few hours (despite its questionable price tag). Just 680 bottles were produced of its inaugural 2006 vintage, and should you be lucky enough to find a bottle on the secondary market, you would be wise to snap it up, whatever the price.
Hello Swartland! We didn't see you there
Yes, Eben Sadie is a viticultural anarchist and yes, his prices are over and above his Stellenbosch competitors. However, One thing is certain: Eben Sadie has put Swartland on the maps and proved to the rest of the world that South Africa is more than capable of producing world-class wines.