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Cult wine to find and taste – Eben Sadie of Swartland, South Africa

Eben -cult wine USA Nov13Swartland- an unusual place for wine, perhaps.  Eben Sadie from Swartland in South Africa has been making a bit of a stir both within and outside of South Africa – an area better known for its Stellenbosch wines.

The St. James’s, (yes you are right to think Buckingham Palace), wine and spirit merchant Berry Brothers & Rudd describe Eben as having acquired the reputation of “the most innovative, even anarchic winemaker in South Africa”.

If that quote doesn’t make you want to find out more, well, dig deeper and find your sense of adventure!

Swartland, South African Wine:

Where is Swartland? For the travelers in our souls, it is a about 25 miles north of Cape Town and Stellenbosch on the west coast of South Africa and on the way to Namibia.  Anyone that is lucky enough to get to Swartland could do a quite detour and visit the West Coast National Park too.

The vineyard is a family run business and located in the Voor-Paardenberg ward of Paarl district. Eden has been a traveler and exposed to different wine making methods before settling in South Africa where he met, and is friends of, Rosa Kruger who is a fine viticulturist and a person who doesn’t spare her knees as she loves to personally tend the vines.

The Making of his Cult Wines:

Eben Sadie family wineryWith the assistance of Rosa, Eben has explored different vines including Semillion Gris, Semillion Blanc, Palomino and Muscat and for the red wines, Eben has grown Cinsault, Grenache and Tinta Barroca. The different vine varietals suit Eben, as he loves to blend his wines with his own unique touch, and to produce the wines he is becoming so well-known.

The biodynamic wine is made from grapes collected from 48 separate parcels of biodynamically managed land. After hand-sorting, grapes are placed in wooden vats and hand-trampled twice a day for a month before being moved into traditional basket presses. Finally, using the forces of natural gravity the wine is barreled in old oak casks before being bottled.

As early as 2009, Eben was recognized in the Wine Spectator Magazine by James Moleworth (29Apr’09) who described his Columella 2006 as the “only classic-scoring South African wine in ‘Wine Spectator history” with 94 points. Understandably, the Columella is the flagship wine of the vineyard and is a blend of Syrah and Mourvedre.

Try finding  Eben’s 2010 red Sequillo which is a blend of Syrah/Mourvedre and Grenache which has an alcohol content of 14.5% described as a “Power meets elegance in a Rhone-style red blend” by David Williams (The Guardian,29Jan12).  The Sequillo is made from a blend of Syrah, Mourvedre and Grenache.

If you prefer a dry white, take a look at Palladius 2008 which is a blend of 45% Chenin Blanc, 20% Grenache Blanc, 15% Clairette, 10% Viognier and 10% Chardonnay. The wine has a sensation of Rhone meets Burgundy. The first vintage of the Palladius was only in 2002 with slightly less than 2,000 bottles, so a rare wine indeed.

Whist it might be a hard to find wine, I am sure you will enjoy your experience with any of the Eben Sadie South African wines.  If you find and try a red or white wine made by Eben wine we would love to read your wine review.


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