Picked slightly riper than usual in 2019, Pofadder also benefited from a decent crop compared with some of the Old Vine Series parcels. Plusher and darker than the 2018 was at this stage, with more grip and flavours of bramble and black cherry, this is a serious, sinewy Cinsault with a nip of tannins. “A small dog that bites you,” says Eben Sadie. 94 points, Tim Atkin MW, South Africa Special Report 2020
Pofadder is a pure Cinsault, cropped from a parcel on the Kasteelberg Mountain (west of Malmesbury) planted in 1973. Here the soils are composed of slate and decomposed shale. Pofadder is Afrikaans for a puff adder – a type of snake that is known in these parts – and indeed, a puff adder claimed the life of a vineyard worker in the 1940s: hence the name.
Sadie is a champion for old vine Cinsault on the cape, but he concedes that this is the vineyard, and the wine, which needs the most care. Controlling yields, sorting bunches and berries and then protection from oxidation in the cellar are all vital.
Eighty percent whole bunches were placed in an old wooden, open-top fermenter, with one or two gentle foot stomps each day to release enough juice to keep the fermentation ticking over. After a month on skins the grapes were then transferred to a tiny basket-press and pressed directly to an old wooden cask for aging. The resulting wine is a gloriously textured yet vibrant ode to both variety and region.
“In 2018 we picked the Cinsault grapes in the Pofadder vineyard quite early on the account of the drought but in 2019 the vineyard looked much more buffered against the drought and we picked riper, closer to the ripening average we have come to in the past. The wine immediately responded by just having a more complex dynamic. The aromas of the 2019 Pofadder are some of the most perfumed to date and the aromatic design is more complex and not just running on a singular red fruit line. The mouthfeel is in greater equilibrium than ever before. The 2019 is quite open and will require less cellaring than 2018 and 2017.” Eben Sadie