Margot and I recently took part in an invitation only tasting with Eben Sadie. He only does four a year – at the family farm so – it’s not the type of invite any wine lover says no to!
Eben Sadie is a man overflowing with amazing oenological philosophies and remarkable commitment to producing exceptional wines that are both honest and pure. In fact, in this regard, Eben Sadie’s wines take after him.
During the tasting – overlooking the Swartland and Paardeberg – we learned about soils and terroir, both of which are the not-so-secret ingredients of Eben’s magic.
To illustrate the importance of terrior Eben had us taste three Shirazs. All three were farmed using the same methods, same vines and same oak. The only difference was the soil.
The three Shiraz’s were all totally different – everything from their colour to their flavour and texture was unique to that particular wine. This was the first time that I’ve really experienced the differentiating effects terroir can have on a wine.
Another first – for me – were Eben’s concrete egg tanks which he imported exlusively for fementing his award-winning Palladuis. These egg tanks apparently maintain the minerality and the concrete – being natural – keeps the purity in the wine.
Eben, I soon discovered, does not believe in spreadsheets, he dislikes producing “oak soup” and his wines never see a machine. He believes in “capturing a place and locking up time” – which is what he does with his wine.
We got to sample this time capsule wine and my new favourite is the Columella 2006. Here each berry is hand-selected then basket pressed. The beautiful colour, a gorgeous purple hue, and the layers of texture and flavours created a smooth and oh so subtle wine. Phenomenal!