2020 Sadie Family Swartland Palladius Magnum (1500ml)
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.
Sadie’s signature white is a blend of all 11 of Swartland’s official white varieties, with old, bush-vine Chenin Blanc playing the principal role. The idea is to produce a great white that represents the overall terroir of Swartland (as much as this is possible) and to use all the permitted varieties. As a result, this is harvested from 17 separate vineyard sites, with the full list of grapes taking in Grenache Blanc, Clairette Blanche, Viognier, Verdelho, Roussanne, Marsanne, Semillon Blanc, Palomino and Colombard, as well as the hyper-rare Semillon Gris (which plays a key role in Sadie’s Kokerboom and ‘T Voetpad old vine cuvées).
As for the winemaking, the fruit was sorted and pressed in a traditional basket, directly into clay amphoras and six concrete eggs. The wine finished fermenting in its own time (which can take up to 20 months) after which it went to large wooden foudre for maturation before being bottled unfined and unfiltered.
No fewer than 17 parcels and 11 varieties (for now) contribute to the blend of this impressive white. Palomino, Chenin Blanc and Grenache Blanc are the dominant grapes in a wine that nods towards the southern Rhône and Spain. Less exotic than it was, Palladius is tauter and more focused these days, with freshness and zip form Clairette Blanche, Colombard and Verdelho, citrus, pear, lemongrass and aromatic herb notes and a tangy, wet stone finish. Drink: 2023-2030.
Tim Atkin MW - South Africa Report 2020