Sadie Family Wines The Old Vine Series 2020

By , 16 September 2021



The high regard rightfully accorded to Sadie Family Wines from just about all quarters makes any kind of even-handed review of this cellar’s wines difficult but a nice problem to have, even so. The 2020 vintage of the Old Vine Series has been available for some time now and it’s been a particular pleasure looking at each wine in detail over the past few weeks. Tasting notes and ratings as follows:

Skerpioen 2020

From a Swartland field blend of Chenin Blanc and Palamino, the vineyard located two kilometres from the ocean and hence one of the coolest sites in the district. Enticing aromatics of lime, lemon, green apple, peach and herbs while the palate shows good fruit concentration, crisp acidity and an intensely saline finish. Perhaps a little more weight than some recent vintages but hardly a plush wine.

CE’s rating: 94/100.

Kokerboom 2020

From Olifants River Semillon. Arresting aromatics of lemon, grapefruit, something approaching blackcurrant, fynbos and a slight waxy note. The palate makes a big impact – super-dense fruit matched by driving acidity, the finish long and savoury. It’s a rich, weighty wine (alcohol is 14%) that’s also got detail. Plenty of wow-factor.

CE’s rating: 95/100.

‘T Voetpad 2020

A Swartland field blend. Exotic aromatics of stone fruit, tropical fruit and a little waxy character. The palate has tremendous presence – rich, weighty and smooth in texture although there’s tangy acidity and some grip to the finish as well. Certainly not short of complexity but a wine of heft rather than energy.

CE’s rating: 94/100.

Skurfberg 2020

From Citrusdal Mountain Chenin Blanc. A hugely expressive nose showing struck match, guava, citrus, peach and pineapple, floral perfume, dried herbs and talcum powder as well as some leesy complexity. The palate possesses both power and poise – rich but also wonderfully zesty. A seamless wine, wave after wave of flavour, the finish long and savoury.

CE’s rating: 97/100.

Mev. Kirsten 2020

From Stellenbosch Chenin Blanc. Pear, citrus, peach, dried herbs and a touch of earthiness on the nose while the palate has a sense of reined-in power about it – excellent fruit concentration, driving acidity and savoury, slightly bitter finish. Full but equally tightly wound, this comes across as a very direct wine.

CE’s rating: 96/100.

Pofadder 2020

From Swartland Cinsault. 50% whole-bunch fermentation. The nose shows some flinty reduction before red cherry, pomegranate, strawberry, a hint of rose and white pepper while the palate is medium bodied with good fruit definition, snappy acidity and powdery tannins. Pure and precise.

CE’s rating: 93/100.

Treinspoor 2020

From Swartland Tinta Barocca. Rather heady aromatics of dark berries, liquorice, lavender, fresh herbs, earth and spice. The palate is light in body yet deep in flavour with bright acidity and quite firm tannins making for a nicely dry finish. Has a rustic charm about it.

CE’s rating: 92/100.

Soldaat 2020

From Piekenierskloof Grenache. 60% whole-bunch fermentation. Again some reduction on the nose before cherry, strawberry, fynbos, earth and spice. The palate is medium bodied with good fruit density, lemon-like acidity and fine tannins. Layers of flavour and a little more weight and structure than 2019.

CE’s rating: 94/100.

Check out our South African wine ratings database.

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6 comment(s)

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    Greg+Garden | 17 November 2021

    This is where the otherwise rather passion damping blind tasting judgement helps. There does seem to be a degree of ‘label tasting’ in some of the ratings. The Grenache seems (consistently) quite a few marks off best in class. The Tinta? Line it up blind against almost anything from Portugal, and you’d have to be sighted to score it 95 😉

      Kwispedoor | 18 November 2021

      It’s undoubtedly true that it’s just about impossible to be 100% objective when tasting sighted (doubly so with famous or impressive wines). But it does allow for tasting within context of track record, etc. Sadie scooped a full house of 10 x five star ratings in the 2022 Platter’s guide – the five star tasting is conducted blind.

    Ashley Westaway | 16 September 2021

    Brief info and brief commentary. Tim Atkin scores every single one of these wines higher than Christian. Their respective scores are closest in relation to Kokerboom (96, 95) and furthest apart in relation to T-Voetpad (98, 94) and Treinspoor (96, 92). There’s broad consensus that the Old Vine Series is THE most sought after collection of South African wines, both locally and globally. This is driven by the unbeatable value for money offered by these very fine wines. From my own experience, the best South African wines that I’ve had the pleasure of tasting have been aged Old Vine Series bottles. Therefore I ring-fence a large percentage of my annual wine budget to purchase Eben’s wines.

      J | 16 September 2021

      I’m personally more in-line with these scores myself, particularly with the reds. TA report tends to drown out out other great examples of wine in the light of the glorious Sadie (et al) scores.

      Personally think many other grenaches and cinsaults outperform the SF with ease, year after year.

      Good to have both scorers as a contrast

        Tierseun | 20 September 2021

        Totally agree with you J. And when you start looking at how other tasters / publications are scoring the SF wines (Platters, Neal Martin, Wine Advocate) it becomes clear that TA’s ratings are higher than all of them.

        That’s not to say TA is wrong, but it is more useful looking at how he scores Pofadder / Soldaat relative to other Cinsaults / Grenaches rather than looking at his absolute score.

        In the 2021 report Pofadder is the highest scoring Cinsault (tied with Adi’s Ringmuur on 96pts) but in 2020 it wasn’t in the top 3 (94pts vs Leeu Passant 96pts).

      Ashley Westaway | 16 November 2021

      Score comparison update: Every single 2021 Sadie release is rated 5 stars in the 2022 Platter’s Wine Guide. Mev Kirsten scores 98, Skurfberg 96, and the other 6 all score 95 pts.

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