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Sadie Family Swartland Pofadder 2022

  • Old Vine Series. In the 1920s, Cinsault was the most-planted black grape in South Africa. However, as one of the fickler varieties to work with and to vinify, it suffered a fall from grace post-WWII. It’s only very recently that (with growers such as Eben Sadie and Chris Alheit leading the charge) the ‘Pinot Noir of Swartland’ has been reborn, and the results are revelatory. This variety is now being planted more and more by some top growers in the south of Franc. Wines like this show you why.

    Pofadder is pure Cinsault, cropped from a parcel on the Kasteelberg Mountain (west of Malmesbury) planted in 1973. The soils are slate and decomposed shale. Pofadder is Afrikaans for a puff adder, a type of snake in these parts that claimed the life of a vineyard worker in the 1940s. Sadie is a champion for old-vine Cinsault in the Cape, but even he concedes that this is the vineyard and the wine that need the most care.

    Controlling yields, bunch/berry sorting and protection from oxidation in the cellar are all vital. Roughly 50% whole bunches are placed in an old wooden, open-top fermenter, with one or two gentle foot-stomps each day to release just enough juice to keep the fermentation ticking over. After a month on skins, the grapes are transferred to a tiny basket press and pressed directly to 28-year-old conical wooden casks for aging. The wine, crafted from yields below 28 hl/ha, is a gloriously textured yet vibrant wine, a delicate ode to variety and region.

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