Pre-arrival. Due early December.
Like Soldaat, Pofadder was fermented with fewer whole bunches in 2020, giving the wine more fruit purity and focus. Beautifully framed and complete, it’s an old-vine Cinsault that combines focus with depth. Black cherry, raspberry and sweet spice notes play out across the palate with a lovely stony undertone. 96 points, Tim Atkin MW, South Africa Special Report 2021
Old Vine Series. In the 1920’s Cinsault was the most-planted black grape in South Africa. However, as one of the fickler varieties to work with and to vinify, it suffered a fall from grace post WWII. It’s only very recently that (with growers such as Eben Sadie and Chris Alheit leading the charge) the ‘Pinot Noir of Swartland’ has been reborn, and the results are revelatory. This is a variety that is now being planted more and more by some top growers in the south of France—wines like this show you why.
Pofadder is a pure Cinsault, cropped from a parcel on the Kasteelberg Mountain (west of Malmesbury) planted in 1973. 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, claimed the life of a vineyard worker in the 1940s. Sadie is a champion for old-vine Cinsault in the Cape, but even he concedes that this is the vineyard, and the wine, that needs the most care. Controlling yields, bunch and berry sorting and then protection from oxidation in the cellar are all vital. Fifty percent whole bunches were placed in an old wooden, open-top fermenter, with one or two gentle foot-stomps each day to release just 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 2020 we decided to reduce the percentage of whole cluster bunches in the fermentation to 50% on the Pofadder as well. As is the case with the Soldaat, the massive pick-up of potassium and pH climb were just not beneficial to the wine in the long run. When tasting this 2020 Pofadder we decided that it is easily one of the best we have ever bottled and the overall equilibrium is on another level altogether. The wine has immense purity of fruit and brightness, but the layering of the tannins in the texture and the overall balance have reached new heights. This vineyard is now in another dimension altogether.” Eben Sadie