The 2023 releases from Eben Sadie, South Africa

I’ve written lots about Eben Sadie before, and he hardly needs an introduction. So without much supplementary commentary, here are some notes on new releases from South Africa’s most famed winegrower. Sadly these now sell out within minutes of being released.

Skerpioen 2022 Swartland
Co-planted vineyard on palomino and chenin planted on white limestone. Half of each variety whole-bunched pressed to old foudre and then bottled straight off the lees. Textured and mineral. Quite broad with lovely citrus fruits, some mineral notes. Layered and fresh but it’s quite profound, and really fine. 94/100

T’Voetpad 2022 Swartland
Field blend of vines planted between 1887 and 1928. The majority was planted in 1900. Alluvial sandstone in Picketberg. Semillons Blanc and Gris, Palomino and Chenin, as well as Muscat (just 1% now). Linear, crystalline and expressive, with some chalky mineral hints. Fine, tapered and linear with great detail and precision. This is very fine. 97/100

Rotsbank 2022 Swartland
From a vineyard in the Paardeberg which Eben now owns, with shallow decomposed granite soils. This is slightly cloudy, and very textural with fine mineral notes as well as pear and white peach fruit. Lovely purity here with hints of mint and jasmine. Very fine. 96/100

Mev Kirsten 2022 Stellenbosch
Oldest Chenin vineyard planted in South Africa, planted between 1905 and 1920 on decomposed granite. This is astonishing. Rich and textural with broad peach and pear fruit. Very broad but fine and mineral. Finely spiced and saline with great detail. Power combined with freshness, and almost perfect. 98/100

Skurfberg 2022 Olifantsrivier
Three old bush vine parcels planted between 1940-1955 on the decomposed sandstone slopes of the Skurfberg. So fleshy and generous, but rich too. Fine chalky, mineral apple and pear fruit with a tapering mineral finish. Has delicate saline notes. 96/100

Kokerboom 2022 Olifantsrivier
Old Semillon from high altitude sandstone soils, planted in the 1930s. Lively waxy crystalline notes with delicate chalky citrus fruits, some yellow plum and a hint of cabbage. Really fine. 95/100

Palladius 2021 Swartland
A blend of vineyards and soils, and also many different white grape varieties. Nuts, wax, lemons and some spice as well as rich pear and peach fruit. Very fine grained with nice detail. Textural, classic and refined. 94/100

Pofadder 2022 Swartland
This is a varietal Cinsault from the Riebeeksrivier farm, owned by the Ruperts. One of the few plots Eben doesn’t farm himself. 100% decomposed slate (80% decomposed, not rocky). Red, iron-rich soil. Lovely weight here with fine red cherries and plums. Detailed, with some nice acidity, and an expressive red cherry core, as well as hints of smoke and minerals. 94/100

Treinspoor 2022 Swartland
Tinta Barocca from alluvial soils, planted in 1974. Fresh and supple with lovely red cherry and plum fruit. Has nice brightness and purity, as well as a bit of structure. Precise and linear. 95/100

Soldaat 2022 Piekenerskloof
This ungrafted and unirrigated old bush vine Grenache comes from Piekenierskloof, and a sandstone-dominant 46 year-old vineyard, at 708m. 85% whole cluster, wild fermented and aged in concrete. Smoky and spicy, with a pepper edge to the focused cherry and raspberry fruit. Sappy and linear with iodine notes and fleshy raspberry and cherry notes. Such finesse here. 95/100

Columella 2021 Swartland
The first wine Eben made back in 2000. Syrah, Mourvèdre, Grenache, Carignan, Cinsault, Tinta Barroca from 8 vineyards. Sweet spices and red fruits aromatics on the nose. Fresh, linear palate with well integrated oak and some fine spices. Sleek and focused with cherry and berry fruit. A classic wine that will age well. 94/100