A blend of Chenin Blanc and Palomino from 66 year old vines planted on clay and chalk soils in the northwest corner of the Swartland, the Skerpioen (meaning scorpion) shows characteristics more associated with top-flight Manzanillas ‒ salted almond, fleur de sel, flor, melon rind and quinine but with lifted acidity that provides cut and definition.
Wine Spectator 92 points - A pure, chiseled style, with white peach, jicama, honeysuckle and salted almond notes, giving way to subtle brioche and shortbread hints through the long, finely tuned finish. Palomino and Chenin Blanc. Drink now through 2016.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.