Pre-arrival. Due early December.
We’re doing an enormous amount of work in the vineyard to recuperate it,” says Eben Sadie of his beloved Tinta Barocca, “and trying to extract less in the winery.” Showing its classic grip and tannins, this has damson, liquorice and tar-like flavours and aromas, appealingly rustic tannins and the structure to age. Nebbiolo meets Syrah. 96 points, Tim Atkin MW, South Africa Special Report 2021
Old Vine Series. “It’s a Swartland thing”, notes Sadie of Tinta Barocca (the S.A. spelling has only one ‘r’ and two ‘c’s). This variety arrived in South Africa from the Douro and has found an opportune home in the Western Cape. Historically Tinta das Baroccas (as it was once labelled) has always played a prominent role in Swartland’s red blends, but the interest in the variety—particularly from old, dry-grown vineyards—has really spiked in recent years.
This vineyard, planted in 1974 and located next to the old railway line (treinspoor), lies four kilometres west of Malmesbury on decomposed granite and sandstone. Sadie notes that while the very fragile, thin skin of Tinta Barocca is prone to sunburn, the old bush vines of this site keep the bunches sheltered from the intense Swartland sun. Sadie likens his Treinspoor to a sort of stylistic cross between Northern Rhône Syrah (blackberry/currant fruit, plushness and nettles) and Piemontese Nebbiolo, (spice, florals, acidity and tannins): “It has Piedmont-like tannins and Northern Rhône aromatics”. Fermented in concrete and raised for 12 months in large cask, it’s an outstanding, idiosyncratic red of great beauty and character.
“Treinspoor 2020 is a compilation of very many years of persistence with this variety. We have highlighted the fact that it has most probably been the greatest red variety planted in the Swartland for years. It just transports terroir and the typicality of the site much more successfully than most other red varietals. This 2020 is the result of 10 years of working the golden threads we could read in the makeup of this cultivar. The spicy, mineral, graphite and earthy characteristics flow into a basis of tannins and textures; and this wine has almost no start nor any end. We urge you to age this wine. Have one bottle in an emergency, but leave the rest of the case for the next decade of fine wine drinking. Tinta Barocca has a big temperament and needs big temperament ownership.” Eben Sadie