Assessing a Sadie Family Wines Old Vine Series Soldaat Vertical Ahead of the 2023 Judgement of Wimbledon Grenache Tasting…

Sadie Family Wines are located in the Swartland region of South Africa and is without doubt one of South Africa’s most sought-after producers. But it wasn’t always like this. Before Eben Sadie settled down to carve out his career as a winemaker, he travelled and worked extensively in several major wine regions of the world, including Germany, Austria, Italy, Oregon and Burgundy. After returning to South Africa, he found employment alongside South African icon Charles Back, at The Spice Route in 1998. Sadie Family Wines, as we know it today, was founded in 1999, with the first two vintages produced at Charles Back’s Spice Route facilities.

While everything Eben puts his hand to nowadays becomes instantly collectable, his personal winemaking focus remains his signature wines, namely his white blend Palladius and his red Syrah based blend, Columella. But the fine wine world often has other designs, relentlessly craving his small production single vineyard wines made from some of South Africa’s oldest vineyards in the Cape. One of these, the Soldaat Old Vine Series, is made from ungrafted and unirrigated old bush vines that are planted at 708m altitude on decomposed granite soils on a 6-hectare site that Grenache shows such a great affinity for, and it really shows on this incredible wine. After manual harvesting, fermentation occurs spontaneously with indigenous yeasts. Maceration and fermentation is carried out in concrete tanks for 30 days and aging lasts on average 12 months in old oak barrels.

Sadie Family Wines Old Vine Series Soldaat Grenache 2012

Pronounced earthy, sappy, green leaf style with notes of dried herbs, fynbos, sandalwood and leafy red currant tangy berry fruits. The acids are electric, cool and glassy. Just a measured amount of tertiary complexity developing. 92/100? (95/100 Jan 2023 Tasting)

(Wine Safari Score: 95/100 Greg Sherwood MW)

Note: In the original vertical tasting, this wine seemed more evolved and savoury, but on tasting again in January 2023 from a different batch, the wine positively radiated energy and freshness, implying that the 2012 bottle initially assessed was perhaps not in top condition. Even my note on this wine in 2016 said… “you best bury a few bottles away if you have any left! (Wine Safari Score: 94/100 Greg Sherwood MW) – This could potentially be a 95, 96, 97 point classic one day when it nears maturity. Yes, it’s that good!”

Sadie Family Wines Old Vine Series Soldaat Grenache 2016

Lovely warming nose of strawberry jam on warm scones, crushed gravel and sweet fynbos herbal notes before bramble berry fruits with a distinct savoury, meaty finish.

(Wine Safari Score: 93+/100 Greg Sherwood MW)

Sadie Family Wines Old Vine Series Soldaat Grenache 2017

Definite note of reduction evident with hints of wet slate, crushed chalk, black currant, oyster shell and bramble berry spice. The palate is taut and compact, sappy and intense with a creamy textural balance and a herby, brambly, savoury finish.

(Wine Safari Score: 95/100 Greg Sherwood MW)

Sadie Family Wines Old Vine Series Soldaat Grenache 2018

Lovely bright red fruited nose with red currant, crushed strawberry and bramble berry spice. Palate is glycerol, dense and super serious with stony tannins, graphite spice and a savoury red berry finish.

(Wine Safari Score: 95/100 Greg Sherwood MW)

Sadie Family Wines Old Vine Series Soldaat Grenache 2019

Offers a beautiful melange of fynbos, crushed granite, dried herbs and red currant spice. Plush, opulent and seductive, this is a very impressive wine with superb power, precision and balance.

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

Sadie Family Wines Old Vine Series Soldaat Grenache 2020

Dense, bright, pure red fruited nose with delicious creamy depth, layers of red currant, strawberry and seductive red cherry fruit together with a complexing sapidity, tobacco leaf and a stony minerality. Beautiful harmony, seamless balance, and a long, pristine finish. Wow!

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

Wines are available on strict allocation to the trade in the USA from Broadbent Selections and in the UK from FMV. Retail is circa £50 per bottle on release.

2 thoughts on “Assessing a Sadie Family Wines Old Vine Series Soldaat Vertical Ahead of the 2023 Judgement of Wimbledon Grenache Tasting…

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