2020 Sadie Family Swartland Treinspoor
2020 Sadie Family Swartland Treinspoor
Eben Sadie is without a doubt the most influential winemaker of his generation in South Africa. Having worked in wineries right around the world in the 1990s (Burgundy, Oregon, Italy, Austria and Germany) he returned to South Africa and started his own label, Sadie Family Wines, in 1999. His first wine, the Syrah-based Columella 2000, was awarded 5 stars in the Platter Guide. Palladius, the flagship white, received 5 stars in just its third (2004) vintage. Following a period of supporting winemaking projects outside of South Africa he now focuses only on the wines in makes from vineyards in the Swartland, Olifants River and Stellenbosch.
His hard work, attention to detail, diligence on organic farming methods and incredible knowledge of the Western Cape's vinous historical treasures have inspired those that work with him, around him and sell his wines globally. His influence today is prophetic, his wines are profound and extremely sought after. His flagship wines are blends made from all the parcels and varieties he works with, while his Old Vine Series are a brilliant collection of single vineyard wines with evocative names such as Pofadder (Puffadder), Skerpioen (Scorpion), Soldaat (Soldier), T'Voetpad (Footpath), Treinspoor (Traintrack), Skurfberg (rugged mountains) and Kokerboom (Aloe tree).
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.
Tinta Barocca arrived in South Africa from the Duero and has found a home in the Western Cape. Historically Tinta Barocca has always played a prominent role in Swartland's red blends, though interest in the variety, particularly from the old, dry-grown vineyards, has really spiked in recent years. This vineyard, planted in 1974 and located next to the old railway line (treinspoor), lies four kilometres west of Malmesbury on decomposed granite and sandstone. Sadie notes that while the very fragile, thin skin of Tinta Barocca is prone to sunburn, the old bush vines keep the bunches sheltered from the intense Swartland sun. Sadie likens his Treinspoor to a sort of stylistic cross between Northern Rhone Syrah (blackberry/currant fruit, plushness, nettles) and Piemontese Nebbiolo, (spice, florals, acidity and tannins). That pretty much nails it. It's certainly a wine of great energy and drive, with its dark and inky core surrounded by layers of pretty, red fruit and florals all wrapped in fine, powdery tannins. Fermented in concrete and raised for 12 months in foudre, it's an outstanding, idiosyncratic red of great beauty and character.
This is a Dry, Medium+ bodied wine with High acidity and Medium+ tannin. It is Medium+ in it's intensity with Medium alcohol and a Medium+ finish.
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