Seventeen grapes from 11 sites make up the blend of this celebrated Swartland white, created to combine “two worlds in one – weight and tension”, according to Eben Sadie. Perfumed and exotic, it’s daringly unoaked, with peach, apricot, green apple and lime flavours, aromatic spices, layers of complexity and a racy, balanced finish. 96 points, Tim Atkin MW, South Africa Special Report 2021
Signature wine. Sadie’s signature white, Palladius, is a blend of all eleven of Swartland’s official white varieties, with old, bush-vine Chenin Blanc playing the principal role. The idea is to produce a great white that represents the overall terroir of Swartland and to use all of the permitted varieties. As a result, this is harvested from 17 separate sites, with the full list of grapes taking in Grenache Blanc, Clairette Blanche, Viognier, Verdelho, Roussanne, Marsanne, Semillon Blanc, Palomino and Colombard, as well as the hyper-rare Semillon Gris (which plays a key role in Sadie’s Kokerboom and ’T Voetpad cuvées). Scattered thought the Swartland, most of the vineyards are rooted in decomposed Paardeberg Granite (although four parcels lie on sandstone) and qualify for old-vine status (35 years-plus with the oldest vines planted in 1935). The younger-vine fruit comes from Sadie’s own plantings, though even here the yields max out at 22 hl/ha.
As for the winemaking, the fruit was sorted and pressed in a traditional basket, directly into clay amphoras and concrete eggs. The wine finished fermenting in its own time (which can take up to 20 months), after which it went to large wooden foudre to finish its maturation. It was bottled unfined and unfiltered.
Throughout the season, Sadie’s major goal is to “try and get the maximum volume of compact fruit and texture together with the best potential volume of acidity and freshness.” That’s something he has unquestionably achieved here, with the breadth and texture setting Palladius apart from the from his Old Vine Series whites. Unlike those wines, Palladius relies less on acidity, harnessing a deep, phenolic freshness that structures the wine. Sadie continues, “Over the past five years Palladius has been the wine that gained most in quality and refinement and much of this has to do with the addition of more vineyards and the improvement of their viticulture.” It’s a white of Talmudic complexity; the kind of wine you can sit on for hours pulling apart.
“Throughout the picking of this 2019 it was amazing how well the 17 pieces of the puzzle that make up this wine just perfectly fell into place – and so effortlessly. The vineyards ripened in perfect order and in perfect ratio to one another. The 2019 Palladius probably displays the most complex of aromas: not only is the wine very fresh, with a bright green edge apple fruit, but it then goes into stone fruit and exit with the tropical aromatics. The advantage is that across the spectrum we managed to capture a greater acidity than with the 2018, but with more volume and texture. The composure of this wine is an absolutely singular aspect, and it will benefit much from proper ageing.” Eben Sadie
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