Sadie Family Old Vines Series ‘T Voetpad 2016 ~ South Africa’s Grand Cru of White Blends…

Every few weeks I get a phone call from an UK journalist looking for commentary for an upcoming piece in one journal / supplement or another. How is the premium South African category faring? What are South Africa’s best USP’s? (unique selling points), What are the most exciting regions or varietals etc? While Chenin Blanc and more latterly, Cinsaut, have become two of South Africa’s trendiest “calling cards”, there is still only one true wine category in South Africa (other than Pinotage perhaps), that remains completely unrivalled in the global world of fine wine… the great Cape White Blend.

There can be few doubts that the Sadie Family Wines Palladius White Blend is one of the best white blends in South Africa at the moment, however, the truth remains that it is the small production, almost unobtainable ‘T Voetpad from the Sadie Old Vine Series that has emerged in the last few years as the most coveted white blend for collectors. An exquisite field blend of Semillon Blanc, Semillon Gris, Palomino, Chenin Blanc and Muscat d’Alexandrie, the name refers to ‘the footpath’ and is one of South Africa’s most remote vineyards, a 1.4 hectare site planted on their own rootstocks between 1900 and 1928, which are picked together and fermented together in old wooden casks.

The Cape White Blend in all its forms remains a very special category because the greatest expressions are not just conjured up creations, they are formidable, thoughtful wines with a sense of confidence, terroir, balance, and delicious synergistic flavours. Varietals you’d expect to be incongruous marry seamlessly and genuinely create a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts. This synergy factor is the Holy Grail that other international producers have found almost impossible to replicate. The South African wine industry is truly blessed to have this joker in its marketing hand.

Sadie Family Old Vines Series ‘T Voetpad 2016, Swartland, 13.5 Abv.

This eclectic 2016 white blend of Semillon Blanc, Semillon Gris, Chenin Blanc, Palomino and Muscat d’Alexandrie has a wonderfully dusty, aromatic, complex nose of stony, pithy, crunchy yellow pears, pineapple pastille, pear drop bon bons, lemon rind, sea breeze and nutty, piquant nuances. The palate shows such wonderful salty, briney intensity without any heavy, unctuous weight of fruit. Plenty of richness certainly, with a fine grained pithy, grippy texture and impressively fresh acids. I love the purity and inner energy of this wine. The finish is fresh, precise, full of vigour and long, with hints of lemon butter, lanolin, hazelnut and pear skins. This may be the product of a warm, dry, slightly awkward vintage, but the finished results in the bottle are every bit as impressive as the wine’s reputation. Drink now to 2028+

(Wine Safari Score: 96+/100 Greg Sherwood MW)

“The amazing thing about ‘T Voetpad is the fact that it is our most diverse co-planted vineyard with 5 varieties, but it is usually our most harmonious wine at bottling; something that is nearly impossible to comprehend. Our only explanation is that when vines grow together for more than 100 years, they all become one ‘mind’!” ~ Eben Sadie

6 thoughts on “Sadie Family Old Vines Series ‘T Voetpad 2016 ~ South Africa’s Grand Cru of White Blends…

  1. Thank you Greg for this post! I find Eben Sadie’s wines most intriguing and recently bought, but not yet tasted, the Skerpioen 2014 and the Skrufberg 2015! They play “hard to get” here in NL but there is at least one wineshop that sells them! What type of glas do you drink them from, the Zalto Bourgogne?


  2. Hi Christa,
    Sad fact of life is these wines will be practically unobtainable in a few more years as people wake up to their greatness. So stock up now! They are ageworthy! Leave the 14 Skerpioen well alone, way too mineral and tight now. Skurfberg needs 8 years too! Buy more if you can and drink something else in the meantime! Silvervis Smiley NV from Ryan Mostert perhaps!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks Greg, for the very usefull tips! I will try to buy some more….not used to buying in this category and only a mere beginner in drinking wines above €10,-/15,-. Just started in April of this year after being totally disappointed with the wines from the supermarkets! At least now I can enjoy a wine for more than one day! Also invested in the Zalto’s, so no problem there! Great glasses, light and strong! Thanks again, have a great evening!


  4. Ohhh and I’m also into the Mullineux and Thorne & Daughters wines, but I guess these will be collectors items too in a few years time! Have not tried the Mullineux White (Old vines) 2015 yet and planning on buying the Thorne “Rocking Horse” and “Paper Kite”! Did you try those yet?


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