Luddite Saboteur 2015

Tasting Notes


Niels Verburg needed a wine that was priced more competitively than his signature Shiraz and came up with this cunning blend of Shiraz, Mourvedre and a splash of Cab Sauv. His packaging just won the Packaging Design of the Year Award in South Africa, but the juice even better!! During the Industrial Revolution the ‘Saboteurs’ burned down the factories of Europe. It was their way of protesting against the technology and mechanization that was costing them their jobs and way of life. At Luddite they have always been non-conformists (luddites) and they remain steadfast in their belief that “hand-crafted” winemaking produces better results. Niels Verburg is one of the original wine garagistes in South Africa – one of the first trailblazers to break away from the mainstream , commercial winemaking practices that saw the South African wine category falling behind the rest of the world. Some in the industry called him “reckless” in his ‘risk all’ pursuit of excellence. Some call him “old school” or “old fashioned” but know that here at Luddite, TECHNOLOGY & MECHANIZATION WILL NEVER BE A SUBSTITUTE FOR PASSION.

Dark garnet in appearance with plummy red edges. Nose: Spice jumps out of the glass, baked plums, dark cherry and savory wood. Palate: Rich and decadent. Dark fruit, plums and black cherries. Great balance to mid palate with hints of saltiness and a juicy, long, well balanced finish.

Winery: Luddite
Varietal: Red Blend
SKU: 12928 Categories: ,
Bottle Size: 750 mL



91 pts James Suckling
Citrus, strawberries, raspberries and blueberry peel. Medium to full body, loads of grippy tannins, pretty acidity and a vibrant finish. Drink or hold.

90 pts Robert Parker Jr’s The Wine Advocate (NM)
The 2015 Saboteur Red Blend is a blend of 77% Shiraz, 11% Mourvedre, 9% Cabernet Sauvignon and for the first time, the rest is Cabernet Franc. A majority of the crop comes from Gabrielskloof estate. It has an attractive cranberry and raspberry bouquet with a pinch of white pepper. The 50% new oak is neatly assimilated. The palate is medium-bodied with fine tannin, good structure and backbone that lends it a pleasing austerity, but then it fans out on the finish with exuberant blackberry and iodine notes. It’s a punchy, muscular wine, one that is well made.

89 pts Vinous/Tanzer
(14.7% alcohol; aged in 95% French oak, 50% new, for one year): Medium red-ruby. Dark berry liqueur, licorice, violet, black pepper and sexy, exotic oak tones on the nose. Bright, very ripe and rich, with slightly warm red and darker berry, violet and exotic, mellow oak notes currently dominating the palate. Plush and nicely filled in, with immediate appeal but plenty of structure to last. The tannins are plush and velvety but firm.

91 pts Wine Magazine – South Africa 5/26/17
The 2015 vintage is much celebrated among winemakers on account of how favourable growing conditions were but the proof of the pudding is in the eating and while the white wines produced have generally proved to be very good, the more serious reds are only now starting to come to market, their defining feature seemingly being lots and lots of fruit power.
Luddite Saboteur 2015 is a blend of 77% Shiraz, 11% Mourvèdre, 9% Cabernet Sauvignon and 3% Cabernet Franc, maturation lasting 12 months in French oak, 50% new. The nose is brooding with notes of ripe red and black fruit, black pepper, liquorice, some leafiness, earth and a slight malty quality. The palate is big and bold, dense and savoury.

90 points Wine Spectator (October 15th 2020) Expressive yet elegant, with balanced tannins and notes of grilled plum, currant and black olive. Hints of pepper and dark chocolate add to the charm. Well-developed and harmonious, showing substance and depth. Shiraz, Mourvèdre, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. Drink now through 2025. 3,000 cases made, 1,000 cases imported. — AZ

Winemaker Notes

Both the Cabernet Sauvignon and Mourvédre were fermented in small batches in open bins with regular hand punching down. The smaller batches were pressed directly into barrel and allowed to mature with some fermentation lees. We also did malolactic fermentation in barrel which gave us fuller mouth feel and structure. After malolactic fermentation the wine was racked and returned to barrel for a further 24 months. During the blending process great care was taken to follow the house style of Saboteur, which is increasingly building up a huge following, i.e. bold fruit, good spice and soft tannins. This year the blend ended up comprising of 77% Shiraz, 11% Mourvedre, 9% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Cabernet Franc.

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