2021 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.
Toeing the line to triple digits, the 2021 Palladius is a blend of Chenin Blanc, Grenache Blanc, Marsanne, Roussanne, Viognier, Sémillon, Colombard, Verdellho and Palomino. Instantly impressive in the glass, the wine is bold with waxy aromas that sway with seductive notes of lemon pastry cream, dusty melon and citrus blossoms. Medium-bodied and with 13.7% alcohol, the palate is succulent and bright with fantastic acid and displays a kiss of phenolic bitterness that beams with focus and precision. Subtle notes of beeswax and lees drive the finish with immense complexity and considerable weight. The aftertaste summersaults with complexity, offering fresh and bright citrus notes with notions of dusty flowers. It will remain food friendly for decades. It's devastatingly beautiful and cerebral. 12,400 bottles were produced after the grapes were whole-bunch pressed and rested in concrete and amphora. Drink 2025 - 2045.
Anthony Mueller - Wine Advocate (Dec 30, 2023)
The 2021 Palladius is aged in concrete eggs and amphora for 12 months plus 12 months in old foudre. Sadie said he is most proud of this vintage over the last decade. It has a well-defined lanolin, yellow fruit, melted candle wax and fern nose. The palate is supremely well-balanced, with a killer line of acidity counterbalancing the concentration. An underlying touch of bitter lemon and ginger surfaces towards the harmonious and persistent finish. Superb energy here. Drink 2025-2050.
Neal Martin - Vinous
This is showing aromas of waxed lemons, thyme, grapefruit rind, mango stones, apricots, white flowers and sea shells. Seductively supple, fresh, with bright acidity and a seashell-like minerality. Sophisticated, seamless blend that makes you think. Holding back a little at the moment. Blend of 35% chenin blanc, with equal parts of marsanne, roussanne, clairette, colombard, viognier, verdelho, palomino, grenache blanc, grenache gris, semillon blanc and semillon gris. Try from 2024.