2020 Sadie Family Columella
Columella is the top model among the red wines of the Sadie Family. It is a blend of Cariñena, Cinsault, Garnacha, Mourvèdre, Syrah, Tinta Barocca and is a bit like Telmo Rodrigues make their wines - Field blends instead of one-man sausages. Eben Sadie and The Sadie Family in South Africa, like Telmo, play a pioneering role. The Columella has a very limited production and is of course hand-picked with fermentation with indigenous yeasts in open cement tanks of 3300 liters for 3 weeks. Maceration of another 3 weeks after. No further additives. The malolactic fermentation in the oak barrels of which only around 5% is new wood (french oak) and the rest are used barrels. After 12 months of aging, the wine is aged in large wooden casks for another 1 year with maturation on the yeast cells. After 2 years, the wine is then bottled without being filtered or clarified.
In the glass, this unique Columella has a deep ruby red color with a pale ruby red rim in the core. The Columella explodes from the glass with dark red fruit aromas of black raspberry, plum and dark cherry with a seductive layer of red flowers and baking spices. The wine is super elegant with nothing too much or too little. Bursting with fruit and with a perfect alcohol content of (only) 13.5%, the wine has impeccable balance, juicy acidity and lifting tannins. The wine somersaults on the palate revealing new layers of black olives black cherries before closing with a long finish. This is a wine that once you take a sip, you will be further seduced and cannot resist. This wine remains beautiful for decades and receives high ratings every year. Parker reports: "Another stunningly brilliant vintage of Columella. Bravo!"
After years of work in Priorat and the founding of Terroir al Limit, Eben Sadie has returned to his roots. To put it in his own words: "A winemaker should make wines in his region of origin. Where he should know the terroir best." The wine world has some heroes, and Eben Sadie is one of them.
Eben graduated as an oenologist in Elsenburg (South Africa). There he became integrated by the vine: a plant that offers so much diversity, 5000 varieties all over the world. Sadie traveled the world for 8 years, working both in companies that make 6 million liters of wine annually and in companies that only produce 6 barrels. He ended up in Germany, France, Spain, Austria, Oregon and California, before returning to his native South Africa. There he is now counted among the new guard winemakers who want to give the New World a better reputation.
He settled in Swartland (1999), a new wine region for South Africa. At the same time, he resolutely broke with the New World custom of making wines from a single grape variety: he chose blends of complementary grape varieties. He based the reason for this on a sober analysis: "All over the world, wines from different grape varieties are made in a Mediterranean, southern climate, while wines from a single grape variety mainly occur in a continental, more northern climate.
Most countries there enjoy a Mediterranean climate, but they still started making wines from one grape variety: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay and so on. This was successful in the beginning, because it was new and because the grape variety was strongly placed in the foreground. But you don't make really great wines with that. As a result, the New World scores well in the lower price ranges, but is not seen as a supplier of great wines. I want to change that."
Sadie immediately put his vision into practice. He planted the grape varieties that give the best results in the southern Rhône region: Syrah, Grenache and Mourvèdre. 43 ha spread over 48 different plots, biodynamically treated and processed. He also managed to discover numerous old vineyards, restore them and give them a new lease of life (Ouwingerd series). And just like in the time of Terroir al Limit, he gave the wines individuality and provided them with his own signature, that of refinement.
The Swartland region extends north of Cape Town, between Durbanville and Piketberg, inland from the Atlantic Ocean, with Malmesbury in the middle. The region has a very stable climate, which means that a very consistent quality can be achieved every year. All grapes come from non-irrigated vineyards located in the Swartland region. Eben Sadie is a wine philosopher in many ways. As a result, he uses many old techniques in combination with experiments.
For example, he ferments parts of his wine in large concrete 'eggs', Stöckinger foeders, amphorae and he uses wooden barrels that have not been toasted. He has also started an experiment with fermenting in jars made from the soil around the winery and buried during the fermentation. This technique is very old and originates from the Balkan region.
|Type of Wine||Red|
|Grape||Carignan, Cinsault, Garnacha, Grenache, Monastrell, Mourvedre, Syrah-Shiraz, Tinta Barroca|
|Drinking as of||2023|
|James Suckling rating||97|
|Tasting Profiles||Earthy, Dark fruit, Dry, Aged on wood, Powerful, Spicy, Tannines, Full|
|Drink moments||Barbecue, Lekker luxe, Met vrienden, Open haard|