Hoe-Steen, Chenin Blanc, 2017

  David & Nadia

Fifty year old Chenin Blanc grown on iron-rich clay soils, the Hoe-Steen exhibits unctuous yellow apple, beeswax, bitter lemon and white pear aromas with a flick of violet, ginger and dried mango on the palate. Complex and multifaceted with tension and a rich tactile delicacy, the 2017 Hoe-Steen is intense, salty and steely on the finish. Presenting more power than the Skaliekop at this stage but with classy textures, great ageing potential and a very modest 13% ABV. Not easy given that 2017 was a hot, dry vintage in the Swartland yielding many overly-concentrated wines. Here though, David & Nadia have produced two outstanding white wines of balance, restraint and sophistication. As the saying goes, cream always rises to the top.

Contains Sulphites.

About David & Nadia

David & Nadia Sadie, an enviably successful young husband and wife team, are one of the top wine producers in the Swartland, and regarded amongst the most exciting in South Africa. Both are qualified in viticulture and oenology. Jointly establishing the winery in 2010 with a clear long-term ambition, the David & Nadia project became a full-time reality when David finally downed tools at his former job in 2013. Nadia joined permanently in early 2016, just in time to bring in the harvest… and the rest as they say is history. We fell in love with their 2016s; a range marked by finesse and restraint; no mean feat in a hot, dry vintage - even by Swartland standards. Through a combination of attentive viticulture that works to nurture and restore old Swartland bush vines (being traditional, naturally lower yielding and more resilient to the heat), a “hands-off” approach to winemaking, and the confidence to eschew irrigation wherever possible, the David & Nadia wines above all speak to pristine, lifted fruit, tense yet silken textures, and an inimitable sense of place.

The core “David & Nadia” range comprises four wines. First, a traditional white blend based predominantly on old vine Chenin Blanc (30-50 years old), called “Aristargos”, and second, a traditional red blend based predominantly on Carignan (although Grenache will play a greater role in future) called “Elpidios”. Inspired by the soulful clarity of fruit found in the best wines of the Languedoc-Roussillon - finding useful parallels in terms of climate and topography - the blends are complimented with the likes of Roussanne, Clairette, Viognier and Semillon in the case of the white, and Cinsault, Syrah and Grenache in the case of the red. Completing the David & Nadia range are two beautiful single varietals: Chenin Blanc and Grenache. The fruit for the Chenin Blanc is selected from old bush vines that have been 100% dry farmed. Whole bunch pressed and cold-settled before 12 months ageing in old 300L barrels see it come in at a very attractive 12.5% alcohol and a total production of just 5,000 bottles. The Grenache hails from three different vineyards: one on deep iron rich soils, and two on granitic mountain soils in the Paardeberg, production rarely exceeding 3,000 bottles. In addition, the winery releases an entry level Pinotage, under the “Siebritskloof” label, from vines located on the highest slopes on the farm. Picked early, followed by a long, gentle extraction, it is a Pinotage unlike any other, reflecting the gentle hand that underscores all of their wines. When conditions permit, two single vineyard Chenin Blancs are released, produced in miniscule quantities (no more than 750 bottles). They are perhaps the best single vineyard whites being produced in South Africa today.

Exemplifying South Africa’s recent wine revolution on the three most important fronts: quality, quantity and diversity, becoming a Platter’s five-star producer in the process, there can be no doubt that David & Nadia will have a major role in redefining and elevating the wines and reputation of the Western Cape in the years to come. Routinely tipped as one to watch by all the leading critics and held in the same company as their exalted Swartland neighbours Eben Sadie and Chris Mullineaux, David & Nadia is for the time being still an under-the-radar estate in the UK. Buy them while you can.

Appellation: Swartland

Swartland is a large wine-producing area 65 kilometers (40 miles) north of Cape Town in the Western Cape of South Africa. Traditionally a wheat-producing region, it now specializes in making rich, fruit-driven wines particularly from the Shiraz, Chenin Blanc and Pinotage grape varieties. Swartland covers a large area, Encompassing the vineyards on the northern side of the Paardeberg mountain in the south to the plains of Piketberg in the north. The smaller ward of Riebeekberg and the Kasteelberg Mountain lie in the eastern part of the region, while the cooler district of Darling separates the area from the Atlantic Ocean. The topography is varied, and vineyards can be found on steep mountain foothills or on gently folding hillsides.

Grape Type: Chenin Blanc

Now widely planted across the world (notably in South Africa), Chenin Blanc is a white grape variety native to the Loire Valley where it produces a range of wine styles; sweet, dry and sparkling with complexity, depth and often longevity. In the middle Loire, Chenin Blanc is used for Anjou, Montlouis, Saumur, Savennieres, Vouvray, and Coteaux du Layon and Quarts de Chaume wines.