2017 Sadie Family Piekenierskloof Soldaat - Grenache - South Africa. 750ml
Old Vine Series. 13.5% alc. Soldaat is 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 Soldaat (Soldier). Sadie’s easterly-facing parcel sits around 708 metres—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 fresh, 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 from the heavy, alcoholic wines that are so often a theme with Grenache.
Whole-bunch, except for 10%, to get the fermentation going, Soldaat is fermented (and raised) entirely in concrete. From yields of just 23 hl/ha, it’s the lightest Sadie red in colour yet leaps from the glass with spicy, bright and tangy perfumes of smoky, red berries, herbs/sage and lavender. The palate is super pure and yet complex, with the same juicy characters described above, very fine tannin and a long, racy-fresh, super long finish. A beautiful wine.
“The 2017 Soldaat is pure Grenache from high-altitude sandstone soils at 708 meters, one of the highest elevations for reds in the Cape. It is fermented in concrete, whole-bunch except for 10% to 15% to get the fermentation going. It has a very pure bouquet of voluminous red cherries and crushed strawberry fruit, plus a touch of patisserie in the background. The palate is medium-bodied with chalky tannin, cranberry and light earthy notes that are expressed on the finish. Very fine, though there is some reduction, so don’t hesitate to give this a decant.” 92+ points, Vinous, August 2018