The wines of David & Nadia, Swartland, South Africa


David and Nadia Sadie studied together and then got married in 2009. They both began working for different wineries, but in their spare time started their own project in 2010, which originally was called just David, but is now David & Nadia. In 2013 David (pictured above) quit the day job, and Nadia quit hers in 2016, and now they live on their Paardebosch farm which they lease from the owners, who aren’t interested in farming. One of them is from Norway and the other is local, and is setting up a restaurant. They also lease the cellar long-term, but they are looking to buy in the long term. The Paardebosch vineyard they farm is 16 hectares, but these are low yielding vines planted far apart. They farm about 20 hectares in total.

Paardebosch meets about half their grape needs and the rest they source from growers, including their single vineyard wines. They aim for organics (not always easy with growers) and work naturally in the cellar, looking to make fresh, terroir-expressive wines.

‘I’m not a fan of big wine, says David. ‘My idea is to make something that acknowledges the fact that it is a warm region. So I am picking early.’ He adds that ‘The Swartland is a warm region so perception of freshness is important. We make sure the wines are bone dry, and lees help because this gives a slight phenolic grip – a bit of focus and dryness in the wine. And with the old vines, the salinity we get is very important to us.’

In the next few years they hope to release a single-vineyard Grenache. ‘In our region it is so successful,’ says David. This is a variety they have been achieving good results with. Currently they have three single-vineyard Chenin Blancs, all from different soil types, and a fourth has just been added with the 2021 vintage, but not yet released.

How would David characterize the different soil types in the Swartland in terms of flavour profile? ‘Take our three single vineyards,’ he says. ‘Without a doubt the Paardeberg is pure granite and gives much more restraint and minerality. With that there is a beautiful sensation of freshness, with a saline character. Skaliekop has richer clays and shales, and in Chenins you get much more richness and yellow fruit, with some peach skin. It is quite a struggling vineyard, and there is a natural tension on the palate. Hoë-Steen is clay-rich, with a bit of limestone under it. There’s red clay with some limestone. This creates richer styles. The clay here becomes anaerobic and the vines struggle. Historically the guys in these areas with municipal water rights got the highest prices.’


David & Nadia Semillon 2018 Swartland, South Africa
Two old (1960 and 1972) vineyards from Paardebosch. So they use a bit of skin contact because they harvest early and lose some concentration because of this. 7 d on skins. Then pressed and spends a year in the foudre. Complex, lively and intense with a citrus edge to the palate, showing some pith and a nice grippy edge. Has a chalky edge to the crystalline fruit. Stylish and intense and vivid. 94/100

David & Nadia Aristargos White Blend 2018 Swartland, South Africa
Based on Chenin, old vines and granite. Marsanne and Viognier are by necessity young vines, because South Africa doesn’t have old vines of these varieties. 14 different vineyards and 20 pickings. Spends a year on lees in older wood. Hints of honey, spice and nuts here with focus and complexity to the fresh pear and white peach fruit, and lovely citrus drive. Really linear and detailed with great precision, showing good acidity and a touch of honeysuckle. 95/100

David & Nadia Aristargos White Blend 2019 Swartland, South Africa
Textural and bright with nice pear and citrus fruit. Lovely intensity here with a complex, mineral core. Very stylish with a tapering finish. 94/100

David & Nadia Chenin Blanc 2018 Swartland, South Africa
Complex, crystalline and multidimensional, with hints of honey and toast sitting under bright grapefruit, lemon and pear fruit. Has a really detailed spiciness. Such lovely detail, showing incredible complexity and refinement. 95/100

David & Nadia Chenin Blanc 2020 Swartland, South Africa
A seven-vineyard blend from schist, clay and iron soils. Supple and bright, and with lots of layers. Shows citrus and pear fruit, and it’s really expressive with some mandarin detail. Lovely pear and citrus fruit with a hint of melon: really expressive. 95/100

David & Nadia Hoë-Steen Chenin Blanc 2018 Swartland, South Africa
1968 planting, south-facing, slightly sloped, 2 ha, massale selection, some Palomino and other things in the mix. Complex and taut with some nut, citrus, spice and fennel notes, with fine spiciness and a lovely mineral tension. Quite dry and crystalline with lovely structure and tension. Very expressive. 95/100

David & Nadia Hoë-Steen Chenin Blanc 2021 Swartland, South Africa
This vineyard is slightly more inland with iron-rich clay, and it comes from a southern slope. The clone is a late-ripening one. Lovely citrus drive with some pear and apple, and hints of spices. Nice intensity here: quite mineral, and combines flesh with purity. Fine and stony. 95/100

David & Nadia Skaliekop Chenin Blanc 2018 Swartland, South Africa
1985 planting on Paardebosch, granite focused. Beautiful perfume here: nice yellow fruits, some melon, a bit of tinned pear. The palate is seamless and focused with some brightness to the lemon and yellow plum fruit. Has good acidity and nice tension. Stony, a bit saline, with some structure. Very fine. 96/100

David & Nadia Skaliekop Chenin Blanc 2021 Swartland, South Africa
This translates ‘hill of shale’. Lovely concentration with nice fleshy citrus and pear fruit, with a hint of apple. Mineral and quite powerful with fine spices and great detail. I like the intensity. 94/100

David & Nadia Plat’Bos Chenin Blanc 2018 Swartland, South Africa
1981 plantings, 4 ha on Paardebosch. They’ve been farming this since 2013, facing N/NW,  a hot site on pure granite, so they pick early. This is really tight and lean with crisp lemony fruit and a mineral core. So stony and linear. Very fine. 94/100

David & Nadia Plat’Bos Chenin Blanc 2021 Swartland, South Africa
Finely aromatic: fresh and expressive with lively citrus fruit. Supple and fresh with pure linear citrus fruit. Detailed and delicate, but with great intensity. 96/100

David & Nadia Rondevlei Chenin Blanc 2021 Swartland, South Africa
1984 planting in the west of the Paardeberg, called the Oasis vineyard. This is fermented in concrete and a bit of small oak. Bright and linear with lovely pear and citrus fruit. Very fine with a mineral edge, and nice brightness. There’s a tangy finish, and this is a lovely pure, linear expression of Chenin. 94/100

David & Nadia Grenache 2018 Swartland, South Africa
This comes from their own Paardeberg vineyard, planted in the early 2000s, plus two other organic vineyards in Malmesbury. It’s 60% whole bunch, and matured in 500 litre used barrels for a year. Pale red in colour. This is so elegant and lightly extracted, with cherries, cranberries, raspberries and dried herbs. There’s some warmth to the palate, too, with sweet strawberry fruit and subtle hints of tar and gravel. Very fine and textural, showing amazing drinkability. Has a sweetness to the fruit. 93/100

David & Nadia Grenache 2019 Swartland, South Africa
A four-vineyard blend with most from their own vineyard. Part concrete, part oak. Light, expressive and elegant with pure red cherry and cranberry fruit showing nice elegance. There’s a bit of grippy structure. So fine. 94/100

David & Nadia Elipidos 2019 Swartland, South Africa
Beautiful aromatics: fine red cherry fruit with nice grip and expressive green-tinged raspberry and cherry notes on the palate. A really fine, elegant red. 95/100

UK agent: Justerini & Brooks

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