The 3 Must-Try Wines From Swartland
2021 David & Nadia Sadie, Hoë-Steen Chenin Blanc
From the esteemed single-vineyard Hoë-Steen, planted in 1968 west of Malmesbury towards Darling, in deep, iron-rich red clay soils (which are likely the deepest soils in the Swartland), comes this majestic expression of the region.
This wine, with an exceptional production limited to only 2051 bottles, is crafted solely from 100% Chenin Blanc grapes harvested from the 2-hectare vineyard. The grapes were carefully handpicked over two harvests in mid to late February, then sorted by hand and gently pressed as whole bunches. The wine was matured in old French oak barrels for a year, resulting in a complex and well-rounded final product.
This Chenin Blanc is characterized by its fresh and vibrant nature, offering flavours of citrus, green apple, and quince. It possesses lively acidity and a distinct mineral quality. On the palate, the well-balanced wine exhibits a creamy texture and stylish citrus fruit profile, accompanied by hints of dried apricot, yellow fruit, dried herbs and an upbeat acidity. It showcases a wonderful tension with beautiful fruit flavours.
The bouquet is floral, with notes of melted wax and subtle hints of dried honey. A delicate apple blossom note lingers in the background. As the wine unfolds on the palate, aromas of linseed and toasted walnut emerge.
2020 Boekenhoutskloof, Syrah
A symbol of South African excellence, this Syrah is crafted in a Rhône-like style with barrel ageing in French oak. The grapes are carefully hand-harvested into lug boxes from two vineyards: Porseleinberg (88%) and Goldmine (12%), both located near the small town of Riebeek-Kasteel. The Porseleinberg vineyards are planted on a unique terroir of decomposed Mica-Schist, known for its extremely hard and rocky bedrock. On the other hand, the vineyards on Goldmine sit on the southwestern slopes of the Kasteelberg, characterized by Brown Schist with deposits of Table Mountain Sandstone that have weathered and washed down from the adjacent mountain.
This Syrah exhibits focus, power, and a well-structured profile, displaying finesse and plushness. Silky-soft powdery tannins and perfectly integrated acidity provide a harmonious balance. On the nose, it presents dark plums, black fruit, and an intriguing savoury, gamey character, creating a rich and brooding aroma. Aromas of dark cherry, blackberries, and mulberry emerge, accompanied by hints of red liquorice, cranberry, and Szechuan pepper, contributing further complexity to its attractive sanguine character. The wine exhibits exceptional smoothness, roundness, and suppleness, showcasing superb complexity and elegance.
2021 Mullineux, Old Vine White
Mullinex's goal of producing handcrafted wines that showcase the character of their Swartland vineyards reaches its pinnacle with this Old Vines White.
Sourced from seven different vineyards that yield low quantities (4-6 tonnes per hectare), this white blend is composed of 62% Chenin Blanc, 10% Clairette Blanche, 9% Viognier, 7% Grenache Blanc, 6% Semillon Gris, and 6% Verdelho.
The winemaking process follows a similar approach to the Single Terroir Chenins: the grapes are whole bunch pressed, and fermentation takes place in barrels with 100% malolactic fermentation. The wine is aged for 11 months, utilizing a combination of old French oak 500-litre barrels and 2,000-litre foudre.
This wine presents a pale straw colour and exhibits a floral aroma on the nose, accompanied by ripe fruit, green citrus fruit, and hints of white pepper. On the palate, it is fresh and has a rich texture. Notes of ripe pears, almonds, and peaches emerge, followed by a clove-like finish. The wine maintains a well-balanced profile with vibrant acidity and luscious flavours of nectarines and yellow grapefruit.