Luddite new releases

By , 18 March 2024



Niels Verburg of Luddite in Bot Rver is a larger than life. While waiting for him to taste his new wines over lunch at the Cape Town restaurant Ouzeri that specialises in Cyprian and Greek cooking, I took the liberty of ordering an ouzo as an aperitif.

It was a great palate-whetter but only a few sips were necessary, especially with four wines to come. Verburg, however, insisted that the anise-flavoured spirit not get sent away – someone at the table was going to finish it! Tasting notes and ratings for the new releases as follows:

Saboteur White 2023, was reviewed in January and rated 92 points.

Saboteur Red 2021
Price: R210
55% Shiraz plus approximately equal parts of Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache and Mourvèdre. Matured for 12 months in old oak. Enticing aromatics of cranberry, raspberry, plums and cassis plus herbs, spice, cured meat as well as a touch of earth. Dense fruit, fresh acidity and “chewy” tannins. A generous wine with plenty of character.

CE’s rating: 93/100.

Luddite Chenin Blanc 2023
Price: R540
24 days on the skins before maturation lasting 12 months in older oak. Pear, peach, cut apple, potpourri and lots of spice on the nose. The palate is rather lean with punchy acidity and a saline finish. “For wine geeks and trainspotters,” says Verburg and this vintage particularly so. Alc: 11.7%.

CE’s rating: 93/100.

Luddite Shiraz 2021
Price: R1,000
Production back up to 9,600 bottles as vines slowly recover from the drought. Includes small portions of Cabernet Sauvignon and Mourvèdre. 10% of stalks added back before maturation lasting 24 months in barrel, 15% new. This vintage has an alcohol of 13.62% – low for this wine. It’s hardly underdone but it doesn’t have quite the same fruit power that previous vintages have offered. A touch of smoky reduction before red and black berries, rose, fynbos, fennel and pepper on the nose while the palate is well structured with pure fruit, quite tart acidity and crunchy tannins. A gateway for Luddite newbies?  

CE’s rating: 94/100. 

Check out our South African wine ratings database.   


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