Palomino, according to JancisRobinson.com, “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.