99 pts Tim Atkin MW 2021
The easiest wine we make”, says Eben Sadie of this delicious single block Chenin Blanc from Basie van Lill’s grapes. “We don’t have to do anything to it.” He’s being modest, but this is a terroir wine that follows the brilliance of the 2019 release. Rich, textured and focused, with citrus, pine and beeswax notes, thrilling minerality and focus and the faintest whisper of large wooden foudres. Grippy, tannic and monumental. 2023-30
The grapes are picked in small 20kg picking crates and then placed in a cooling room to reduce the temperature. We consider this an essential step in the Swartland where temperatures are often 35 degrees and more during harvest time; and pressing warm grapes comes with a series of potential challenges. The cooling process is followed up by whole bunch pressing. The process takes about three hours and during this time there is a margin of settling of the juice in the collecting tank. The juice is then transferred to two older foudres where it is left undisturbed until natural fermentation starts. The fermentation process can sometimes take up to 10 or more days to initiate and can last anything from 1 to 6 months, sometimes only finishing during the next spring, by which time the malolactic fermentation would often have come to completion as well.
The Skurfberg Mountain is part of the Citrusdal mountain area and the word Skurfberg (Rugged Mountain) mainly refers to the edgy and rough appearance of the mountain. The soil is mainly decomposed Table Mountain sandstone formations and tends to be very sandy. It is a truly great site for Chenin and it is most unusual that such a warm and dry area still produces wines with this enormous texture and freshness.
This 2020 vintage of Skurfberg was a very limited production as yields again dwindled down, the drought in the Cederberg Mountains continued and we opted to reduce the yield in order to save reserves. This 2020 is an incredibly compact and viscus expression of Chenin Blanc and the stonefruit and peach skin aromas are followed up by a very mineral expression and some tropical aromas in the background. The tannins are smooth and the acidity is perfectly nestled inbetween the fruit and the tannin. Please give wine the time in the bottle.
Chenin Blanc / Steen (South African synonym)
12 months in Big Old Oak Casks
Decomposed Table Mountain Sandstone Formations
Yield 15 hl/ha
Alcohol 14 %
Residual Sugar 2.4 g/L
Total Acidity 6,2 g/L
Total Sulphur 72 mg/L