The Old Vine Series Skerpioen 2014

September 2, 2015
by Christian
in What I Drank Last Night
with 3 Comments
The Old Vine Series Skerpioen 2014

A sting in the tail.

Palomino, according to, “can withstand drought well and produces a reliable crop of slightly low acid, low sugar grapes whose wine may oxidise easily – in short, perfect raw material for sherry”. It was once widely planted in South Africa but most of the wine is used for distilling or basic blends.

Part of Eben Sadie’s Die Ouwingerdreeks (The Old Vine Series), Skerpioen is from a Swartland field blend of Chenin Blanc and Palomino planted between 1958 and 1967. I’ve liked previous vintages of this wine well enough but found it a bit perplexing on account of how restrained it is.

In the case of the 2014, however, Sadie seems to have pared the wine even further back and the result is almost hypnotic. A hint of reduction, preserved lemon, dried herbs, baked earth. It’s extraordinarily lean and fresh and the finish is bone-dry. A singular bottle of booze. Approximate retail price: R205 a bottle.

Winemag rating: 93/100.

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  1. SmirrieSeptember 2, 2015 at 9:34 amReply

    Christian if 93 is equal to 5 stars then i love your scores even more. The Palladius and Columella is just in another league.

  2. ChristianSeptember 2, 2015 at 9:11 amReplyAuthor

    Hi Smirrie, Overall my ratings for the Ou Wingerdreeks 2014s are up on previous vintages. My problem is that 18/20 (roughly equivalent to 93 on the 100-point scale) used to be the threshold for a 5-Star wine. Now many insist that 95 on the 100-point scale (roughly equivalent to 18.5/20) is the threshold for 5 Stars/gold medal and I think this sets the bar too high. Wines which are good rather than great get big scores because most in the wine industry are a cheerful sort and too kind. For me, scores of 95+ are reserved for the very greatest wines in the world (please note: I gave Palladius 2013 a rating of 95/100 and Columella 2013 96/100). The one thing that the 100-point system has over the 20-point system is that the gradations are finer and it seems a pity to lose that. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I have no problem being perceived as conservative when it comes to ratings.

  3. SmirrieSeptember 2, 2015 at 8:18 amReply

    Christian thank you for rating all the OVS too. I have read the report of Tim Atkin as well and was privileged to taste the wines at Eben’s farm too. Your scores seems to be in the lower nineties thus no Platter 5 star scores.

    Is the wines generally less great than previous vintages or is it perhaps a case of that we all expect so much from the wines that we over critical in scoring. I am just a consumer but i would have scored the T voetpad and Skerpioen 95.

    Long live the wine debate.

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