While he shares what is arguably the most popular surname inside the Swartland, South Africa winemaking cadre, David Sadie is busying himself in Tulbagh without any family relation to the other Swartland Sadie, building a reputation all his own. I met up with David in a quest to understand why Swartland is surfacing as the dominant South African hotbed of excitement and quality wine production. He is just one piece of the puzzle, but Sadie neatly framed some of the answers I was looking for.
He credits pioneering personalities, farming economics, old vines, unforgiving heat, and shale and granite soils with fueling the Swartland Revolution. Sadie is watching all this happen from his northern Swartland perch making wine for Lemberg and now his own label called “David“. He’s hitting an early stride that I understood better after tasting his current release 2010 Aristargos. There’s 51% Chenin, 39% Viognier sourced from the Paarderberg, and 10% northern Swartland Verdelho in the final blend. In 2011 he adds two more bottlings; one a Rousanne, Grenache Blanc, Viognier, and Chenin blend and the other 100% Riebeeck sourced Chenin. As usual with top Swartland wines, they combine rich yet elegant textures with appropriate freshness and acidity. They are special wines worth seeking out. I am not alone in this opinion as Tim Atkin, MW recently noted Sadie’s wines as standouts in the London International Wine Fair:
The flight that appealed most was Tomorrow’s Stars, partly because they were names that were mostly unfamiliar, but also because I’m always on the look out for up and coming wineries in the Cape. [2010 Aristargos] is marked by Viognier, with orchard fruits on the nose and palate, underpinned by the acidity of the Chenin…deftly oaked, complex, textured, rich and refreshing. It’s a shame that production is small at… 50 cases
Here is a quick video interview with Sadie sharing some thoughts that help explain the disproportionate amount of quality Swartland wine being made today.