This is a pure and focused effort with refined notes of ripe dark fruits and berries that are nicely framed by refined hints of licorice, sweet spice and vanilla.
Wine Advocate 95 points - The 2011 Columella is more reticent on the nose when compared directly against the 2010: straight-laced and linear with subtle tertiary notes that unfurl with aeration. This seems more masculine than the previous vintage. The palate is vibrant and poised on the entry with fresh crisp tannins, effervescent citrus fresh red and black fruit, a dash of white and black pepper and a beautifully poised finish. Once those aromatics awaken with time, this will be a stunning Columella. Drink 2015-2025. Eben Sadie simply wrote ?old rules? in the spec sheet for his Old Vine Series, which sums up his approach perfectly. You never quite know what you will get with the wines ? so please bear that in mind. That is what makes them so thrilling, because when they do excel they can represent something that attains true profundity, wines that are willing to offer intellectual as well as sensory pleasure. They are produced in small quantities so they can be difficult to track down, though in my opinion they remain very keenly priced?for now. (Oct 2013)
Wine Spectator 94 points - Rich, ripe and remarkably stylish, this lets layers of plum sauce, steeped blackberry and black currant pate de fruit unfurl, while notes of ganache, espresso and graphite provide spine and direction on the finish. Presents a lovely anise echo. Drink now through 2020. From South Africa.óJ.M. (Apr 30 2014)
The new generation of South African winemakers is promoting indigenous varietals and the quality of their terroir. In particular, Eben Sadie has become both curator and champion for old vines in the Swartland region of South Africa. Although just 40, Eben is one of the regions most experienced winemakers in his 20s, he was hired by Charles Back to start up The Spice Route which he left after founding his eponymous property in 1999. Eben has carved out an enviable reputation for his Columella and Palladius estate bottlings, which are produced from seven leased vineyards which he farms himself. In the cellar Eben lets nature run its course spontaneous natural fermentation uses gravity to transfer his wines from vat to bottle and ages his wines in neutral wood. The reds age in large foudres for 24 months and the whites in barrel for 24 months. The most hands-on aspect to Ebens winemaking is at harvest when he and his team individually sort the hand-picked berries. Ebens patchwork approach to vineyard selection is reflective of his winemaking philosophy find the oldest vines that produce fruit representative of terroir. His 17 acre estate, of which half are bush vines and half trellised, is dry-farmed and planted on the gentle slopes of the region to a variety of soil types ‒ granite, slate, clay, sandstone, gravel and quartz. After almost ten years of making his estate wines, Eben was ready for a new project and in 2009, introduced a bevy of small-production, single-vineyard wines sourced from Swartlands oldest vines. For this lineup, the whites were whole-bunch pressed, fermented in a combination of concrete eggs and large foudres and bottled after 10 months; the reds were bottled after 11 months. Eben keeps the wines sur lie through elevage so that he only has to add sulfur once, just prior to bottling.
|(80% Syrah/20% Mourvedre) The berries were fermented for about three weeks, macerated for another three weeks, pressed and transferred directly to tight-grain, Bordeaux French oak barrels (10% new) where it aged for 12 months. The wine was racked and aged for another year in foudres on its fine lees.