This wine is compelling for its contradiction at once dense and chewy, presenting notes of white florals, citrus, melon, quinine, melon, yellow apple and macadamia nut but also fresh with strong elements of chalky minerality and lifted acidity.
Wine Spectator 93 points - Engaging, with green plum and green almond notes leading the way, followed quickly by enticing pear, meringue and kaffir lime flavors. Chenin Blanc, Grenache Blanc, Clairette Blanc, Viognier, Chardonnay, Roussanne, Semillon and Palomino. Drink now through 2016.óJ.M. (Apr 30 2014)
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The new generation of South African winemakers is promoting indigenous varietals and the quality of their terroir. In particular, Eben Sadie has become both curator and champion for old vines in the Swartland region of South Africa. Although just 40, Eben is one of the region’s most experienced winemakers in his 20’s, he was hired by Charles Back to start up The Spice Route which he left after founding his eponymous property in 1999. Eben has carved out an enviable reputation for his Columella and Palladius estate bottlings, which are produced from seven leased vineyards which he farms himself. In the cellar Eben lets nature run its course spontaneous natural fermentation uses gravity to transfer his wines from vat to bottle and ages his wines in neutral wood. The reds age in large foudres for 24 months and the whites in barrel for 24 months. The m o s t h a n d s - o n a s p e c t t o E b e n ’ s winemaking is at harvest when he and his team individually sort the hand-picked berries. Eben’s patchwork approach to vineyard selection is reflective of his winemaking philosophy find the oldest vines that produce fruit representative of terroir. His 17 acre estate, of which half are bush vines and half trellised, is dry-farmed and planted on the gentle slopes of the region to a variety of soil types ‒ granite, slate, clay, sandstone, gravel and quartz. After almost ten years of making his estate wines, Eben was ready for a new project and in 2009, introduced a bevy of small-production, single-vineyard wines sourced from Swartland’s oldest vines. For this lineup, the whites were whole-bunch pressed, fermented in a combination of concrete eggs and large foudres and bottled after 10 months; the reds were bottled after 11 months. Eben keeps the wines sur lie through elevage so that he only has to add sulfur once, just prior to bottling.
(Chenin Blanc, Grenache Blanc, Marsanne, Roussanne, Viognier, Clairette, Palomino, Semillon, Semillon Gris and Verdelho) The fruit was fermented and macerated for a little over three weeks and the free-run juice was transferred directly to barrel (without settling) to age for 24 months. Some of the Chenin and Viognier were fermented for up to four days on their skins prior to pressing.