Pre-arrival. Due early December.
Soldaat went through a slight shift in style in 2020, with the whole bunch percentage reduced to 65%, proving that less is more. Wonderfully fresh, poised and graceful, this is a worldclass Grenache, with Pinot Noir-like delicacy, pomegranate and raspberry flavours and no wood whatsoever. 97 points, Tim Atkin MW, South Africa Special Report 2021
Old Vine Series. Soldaat is a 100% Grenache from a parcel of 55-year-old vines in the highland Piekenierskloof region (just shy of the Swartland catchment, going north to Citrusdal). The vineyard got its name from the foot soldiers (piekeniers) who once used this area as a lookout. Hence the name of the wine, Soldaat (‘soldier’). Sadie’s east-facing parcel sits around 780 meters—one of the Cape’s highest elevations—and the soil is decomposed granite. The vines here are unirrigated, and still on their own rootstock.
Eben notes that The Piekenierskloof Pass has firmly positioned itself as the leading location for Cape Grenache, with the area capable of giving vibrant, perfumed wines with lifted red fruit and spice as well as an earthy minerality (reminding us of the elegant, perfumed Garnachas from Gredos and San Martín de Valdeiglesias in the Madrid highlands). Regardless, this is something very different to the heavy, alcoholic wines that are so often a theme with Grenache. Soldaat is fermented (and raised) entirely in concrete.
“The 2020 Soldaat had two pivotal shifts in the process of coming to being. Firstly, we realized that the more heavily shaded bunches contributed to a volume of herbal, greener characteristics in the wine in some of the older vintages; and by mid-December we trimmed away the leaves around the bunches only to enable more sunlight to come through – not excessively, but certainly more than in the past. Secondly, we slightly reduced the percentage of whole clusters by destemming around 35% of the bunches. The wine is still very much primal red bright fruit and intense berried flavours, but we have gained greater purity and earthy characters; and a better tannin structure in the end of the wine. The wine has both aromatic brightness and weight in texture.” Eben Sadie