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Sadie Family Swartland Palladius 2021

  • Signature wine. Palladius is a blend of all 11 of Swartland’s official white varieties, with old bush-vine Chenin Blanc playing the principal role. Like the Columella red, the idea is to produce a great white that represents the overall terroir of Swartland, so it tries to use all permitted grapes. As a result, it is harvested from 17 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 starring role in Sadie’s Kokerboom and ’T Voetpad cuvées). Scattered throughout Swartland, most of the vineyards are rooted in decomposed Paardeberg granite (although four parcels lie on sandstone), and most qualify for old-vine status (35 years plus), with the oldest planted in 1935. The younger-vine fruit comes from Sadie’s own plantings, though even here, the yields max out at 30 hl/ha.

    As for the winemaking, the fruit was sorted and pressed in a traditional, vertical press directly into clay amphora and concrete egg (725 litres). The wine went to large wooden foudre for maturation. The full aging cycle is 24 months. It was bottled unfined and unfiltered.

    Throughout the season, Sadie’s primary goal is, in his own words, “to try and get the maximum volume of compact fruit and texture together with the best potential volume of acidity and freshness.” He has unquestionably achieved that here, with the extra breadth, power and texture setting Palladius apart from his Old Vine Series whites. Palladius relies less on acidity than those wines, harnessing a deep, phenolic freshness that frames the wine. Eben continues: “Over the past five years, Palladius has been the wine that gained the most in quality and refinement, and much of this has to do with the addition of more vineyards and the improvement of their viticulture.” It’s a white of vast complexity, the kind you can sit with for hours. The 2021 is magical; Eben’s tasting note below captures it beautifully. It’s deep, powerful, and complex, yes, but it has finesse, freshness and balance, making it a joy to drink.

    “The 2021 Palladius displays early-picked stone fruit aromas with some citrus aromas in the background. Still, the minerality and salty qualities on the palate suggest that the wine will be slender for a while but will fill up over time in the bottle. Complex earthy aromas with lanolin layers make up the deeper aspects of aromatics. The palate of the wine is substantial, and the tannins and the acidity seem coiled up super tight. The current taste of the wine shows every intention of this vintage to be a longstanding wine with a big-player mentality. Tasting through the lineup this year, this wine is just a standout.” Eben Sadie

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