Scions of Sinai: the wines of Bernhard Bredell


Scions of Sinai: the wines of Bernhard Bredell


Scions of Sinai: the wines of Bernhard Bredell


Bernhard Bredell grew up in a winegrowing family. They had vines in the lower Heldeberg, in Stellenbosch around a granitic hill known locally as the Sinai Hill.

During and after university he worked as apprentice winemaker, assistant and sales hand with my brother and father at JP Bredell Wines in Lower Helderberg on our farm Helderzicht (from 2009-2012). The family then lost the farm and he got a full time job as the junior winemaker and viticulturist at Radford Dale (2012-2016). During this time Bernhard did two vintages in France, in Beaujolais and the Rhône. But rather than carry on this promising career, he left in 2016 ‘to follow an ongoing itch back to my original roots,’ as Bernhard puts it. ‘Seeing our old farms’ bushvines being uprooted on my way to Radford Dale every morning via Winery Road probably spurred me on to start working with these dry-farmed heritage bushvine vineyards before they were all gone.’

He began Scions of Sinai in 2017, after a stint in Priorat, and to top up his income he worked as a vineyard consultant for two farms and a blending consultant for another winery. In 2018 he travelled back to Priorat to help a friend set up a winery in Gratallops.  

Scions of Sinai is a relatively small project, and at its heart are these old dry-grown vines, many of which were planted by his grandfather, on granitic soils. These are deeply impressive wines. Bernard has attention to detail, and it shows


Scions of Sinai Granitesteen Chenin Blanc 2021 Stellenbosch, South Africa
From a vineyard planted on granite soils in 1978, with a maritime climate. These low-yielding old bush vines have produced a lovely focused wine. Taut, compressed nose is quite mineral and leads to a focused palate with pear and citrus fruit, as well as some green apple. Some structure, and also good acidity. 94/100

Scions of Sinai Gramadoelas Grenache Blanc 2021 Klein Karoo, South Africa
This is a single hectare plot in the Klein Karoo, the furthest east you can grow vineyards. It’s arid and continental here. Bernhard says that it is cold in the mornings and warm in the afternoon, and the leaves stay thick. Grenache Blanc can handle the dry air. These vines are 12 years old. Highly aromatic with pear and mandarin fruit as well as some spice. The textured palate is fresh, mineral and taut with some mineral notes, appealing citrus fruit and a saline twist. Brilliant. 95/100

Scions of Sinai Nomadis 2021 Stellenbosch, South Africa
87% Cinsault (1975 plantings), 13% Pinotage (1976 plantings). This vineyard is in the lower Helderberg, and for a long time it brought freshness to many of the KWV wines. It has crunchy silica-driven deep granitic soils, with less that 5% clay. ‘I want to express the lightness of these soils,’ says Bernhard. Fresh and floral with bright crunchy red fruits, showing notes of raspberry and cherry with good freshness and acidity. Lovely brightness here with nice pure, brisk fruit. 94/100

Scions of Sinai Swanesang Syrah 2021 Stellenbosch, South Africa
This is Bernhard’s top single vineyard Syrah. The élevage is solely in older oak barrels of 400L and some 225L sizes right up to bottling after 11 months on the fine lees in barrel. So fresh, supple and bright with raspberry and cherry fruit. Very pure and expressive: direct and vivid with nice grip. So lovely, fresh and grainy with crunchy tannin acting as a foil to the fruit. 94/100

Scions of Sinai Atlantikas 2022 Stellenbosch, South Africa
Atlantikas is dominantly from a younger (mid 1990s) planted dryfarmed bushvine vineyard also on Sinai Hill (with a bit more clay and less silica than Feniks), still well drained and maritime facing. A small portion comes from a corner of the Feniks vineyard that has a severe soil difference as well as vine vigour. Also harvested early and more than a week prior to the Feniks portion (which lays on deep silica and has smaller bunches). Half the skins are removed from the ferment so there’s less extraction. No barrels here. This is looking to capture the maritime-influenced side of Pinotage, and it’s fresh, fruity and focused with amazing precision to the sweet cherry and raspberry fruit, as well as a touch of plum. Nice tart cherry on the finish, showing good structure. 94/100

Older notes

Scions of Sinai Señor Tallos 2020 Western Cape, South Africa
This is a skin-fermented white blend of Chenin from Sinai Hill and Grenache Blanc from out of the region. Chenin gets four weeks on skins and Grenache Blanc three. Then the wine is aged for seven months, with some under flor. Complex nose of ripe pear and peach with a hint of apricot. The palate is lively and tangy with some structure. Lovely fruit here: very fine and expressive. 94/100

Scions of Sinai Nomadis 2020 Stellenbosch, South Africa
95% Cinsault, 5% Pinotage. Supple, elegant and fine with red cherry and strawberry fruit. Gentle with a hint of ginger in the background. A really elegant style with good purity. 94/100 (£24 The Sourcing Table)

Scions of Sinai Feniks 2020 Stellenbosch, South Africa
Pronounced ‘Phoenix’, this is a varietal Pinotage. The name comes from the fact that the grower was going to remove the vines, but Bernhard persuaded him not to. Sandy soils. Very fine, supple and fresh with pure cherry fruit and some nice chalky structure, and good acidity. This is very fine and expressive with nice weight and precision. Linear and refined, but also structured. 94/100 (£33.90 The Sourcing Table)

Scions of Sinai Atlantikas 2020 Stellenbosch, South Africa
Half the grapes are direct pressed, so there’s less extraction from the skins. Juicy and lively with bright fruit. Supple sweet cherry fruit with a nice sour cherry twist. Lively and vital with a bit of grip. 94/100

Scions of Sinai Swanesang 2020 Stellenbosch, South Africa
This is Syrah, grown as bush vine. Vivid colour. Sweetly fruited but very fresh with floral cherry notes. Bright and compact with a primary palate and lovely fruit purity. Nice sour cherry notes on the finish of this grippy, detailed wine. 95/100 (£33.90 The Sourcing Table)

UK agent: Indigo Wine

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