The sources of Eben Sadie’s amazing West Coast Chenin Blanc have been reduced from three to two in 2018, leaving him with Basie van Lill and Joshua Visser, which is not a bad team to have. Grown on red, iron-rich decomposed sandstone, this is one of the world’s great whites, a bold, yet incredibly focused wine that is sappy, floral and almost ludicrously long on the palate. 98 points, Tim Atkin MW, South Africa Special Report 2019
This extraordinary 100% Chenin Blanc hails from South Africa’s northernmost wine region, the arid Citrusdal Mountain WO, on the west bank of the Olifants River. Specifically, the fruit is drawn from three parcels of 90-year-old, ungrafted bush vines on the decomposed sandstone slopes of the Skurfberg. These are three immaculately farmed vineyards, which have never been treated with herbicide or chemical fertilisers. Each vineyard is vinified separately, basket-pressed, then transferred to old casks for natural fermentation. Following 12 months on lees, the wine is blended, then returned to the same casks for a further six months before bottling directly from foudre. The result is an unbelievable tension-fuelled wine that can stand up to the great Chenins of the Loire—a wine of jaw-dropping texture, mineral energy and complexity. Although 70% down in yields, the wine is unbelievably harmonious and poised; it does not show any evidence of the drought. “Drinking this wine is the closest we’ll probably get to walking on crystal,” says Eben, and that about captures it.