2020 Sadie Family Piekenierskloof Soldaat
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 a considerable 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 lie mostly on the high altitude slopes of Swartland’s Atlantic-influenced mountains, one hour north of Cape Town on the Western Cape.
Soldaat is 100% Grenache from a parcel of 55-year-old vines in the highland Piekenierskloof region, just shy of the Swartland catchment, going north to Citrusdal. The vineyard got its name from the foot soldiers (piekeniers) who once used this area as a lookout. Hence the name Soldaat (Soldier). Sadie's easterly facing parcel sits around 780 meters--one of the Cape's highest elevations--and the soil is decomposed granite. The vines here are unirrigated, and still on their own rootstock. Eben notes that The Piekenierskloof Pass has firmly positioned itself as the leading location for Cape Grenache, with the area capable of giving vibrant, perfumed wines with lifted red fruit and spice as well as an earthy minerality (reminding us of the elegant, perfumed Garnachas from Gredos and San Martín de Valdeiglesias, in the Madrid highlands). Regardless, this is something very different to the heavy, alcoholic wines that are so often a theme with Grenache. Whole-bunch except for 15% to get the fermentation going, Soldaat is fermented (and raised) entirely in concrete.
Soldaat went through a slight shift in style in 2020, with the whole bunch percentage reduced to 65%, proving that less is more. Wonderfully fresh, poised and graceful, this is a worldclass Grenache, with Pinot Noir-like delicacy, pomegranate and raspberry flavours and no wood whatsoever.
Tim Atkin MW - South Africa Special Report 2021