The Old Vine Series Soldaat 2015

By , 11 August 2016



The Old Vine Series Soldaat 2015


From ungrafted and unirrigated old bush vine Grenache in Piekenierskloof. A billowing nose of red and even some black berries, olive, fynbos and fresh herbs. The palate is super-flavourful with snappy acidity and prickly tannins – lots of whole-bunch fermentation character in evidence. It’s a particular take on the variety, winemaker Eben Sadie having apparently pulled out all the stops in this vintage. Wine Cellar price: R265 a bottle.

#WinemagRating: 94/100.

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18 comment(s)

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    Bernard De Boer | 10 October 2021

    3 bottles sold for R 12 898 today on Strauss. Ouch! Who are we to judge

      GillesP | 11 October 2021

      Crazy isn’t it. I think that is a next column for our journalists here. The auction pricing is going to the roof for many South african and French wines at the moment. Prices are totally disconnected from market prices. Obviously some people don’t care at what prices they are buying here.

      Red Lester | 17 May 2022

      Holy crap! I have some stashed away in cellar still. I had no idea they commanded this kind of price. Seems like madness to me…

    Christian Eedes | 8 October 2021

    Hi All, Eben Sadie comments as follows: “In many ways Soldaat 2015 was a very important wine for it changed the way we work with Grenache forever! Up to this vintage, we did a long cold soak, 100% whole cluster, and the wines were pressed and never racked, the reason being to retain as much as possible fruit. The 2015 we bottled with super high CO2 content. But the wine got reductive at times and the fruit did not show pure after time in bottle. We also used ultra-low sulphur.

    We subsequently changed the vinification and now destem 35%, no cold-soak and we press as soon as fermentation is done, no extended contact and we rack the wine after the next Spring, the change being as big as could possibly be expected – the wine is today bright, linear and super-fresh. We use 65ppm of sulphur now, still being very little as a total, but pushing things too left in 2015 showed the limits.”

      GillesP | 8 October 2021

      Thank you Christian and Eben for these explanations. Now the next question is whether this wine should ever have been released given the risks taken. Surely it was tasted and evaluated by Eben before release. I feel sorry for the person who bought this vintage recently at the Strauss auction for R2000 a bottle.

        John | 8 October 2021

        Yes. The response would probably be as follows We took risks but it cost us nothing but we promise that we learned from it and promise to do better in future. Our ouwingerd reeks is after all very very cheap for the value. Et cetera. There should be a fiscal responsibility if a winemaker makes a faulty wine

    GillesP | 6 October 2021

    Given all the comments and bad experiences with the Soldaat 2015 (which I was part of) it seems a response from Eben Sadie would be in order.

    Angela Lloyd | 5 October 2021

    Hmm, interesting. Found 3 bottles remain of my case of Soldaat 2015. Don’t know when I last opened one, but certainly I’ve had no problems. Another will be opened this evening. Expect results on this site tomorrow.

      Angela Lloyd | 6 October 2021

      My view on Soldaat 2015, the 4th bottle of a case of 6, opened yesterday evening.
      On opening, there was a tickle of prickle. I decanted the wine & after +-30 minutes that had disappeared
      It may well have Brett 4EG (bandaid) rather than 4EP (barnyard) but this doesn’t compete with the varietal character, nor is the wine at all dried out.
      It differs from the best Soldaat vintages in that it lacks structure, the brisk firmness I associate with it. The sweet fruit is quite soft and doesn’t have much definition nor length.
      In conclusion: my bottle was drinkable and better for decanting; I enjoyed it with my chicken risotto but I can’t see the wine getting any better. I’ll drink the other two bottles within the next 12 months.
      I’m happy to confirm 2020 & every other wine in the Ouwingerds range is/are outstanding.

        Gareth | 6 October 2021

        Thanks Angela,

        Really interesting to hear your take. Based on this thread of comments, what do you think could have contributed to what seems to be severe bottle variation?

          Angela Lloyd | 7 October 2021

          Gareth, rather than hazard a guess, which may be unfounded, I think Gilles’ suggestion of Eben explaining the issue is the fairest.

    Roman Kerze | 10 September 2021

    Columella is truly an incredible wine, and I’ve only had special bottles, but the Old Vines reds have been highly variable in my experience.

    We’ve had to pour many, many bottles of Soldaat and Pofadder down the sink, and they weren’t green… they were fizzy and strongly smelt of a well stocked barnyard.

    We stick to the white wines and Columella now which are consistently beautiful.

    Ashley Westaway | 9 September 2021

    To his credit, Eben has acknowledged and addressed the problem. The notes accompanying his 2021 release included the following (in relation to Soldaat): “we realized that the more heavily shaded bunches contributed to a volume of herbal, greener characteristics in the wine in some of the older vintages”. In order to address this, “we trimmed away the leaves around the bunches only to enable more sunlight to come through – not excessively, but certainly more than in the past. Secondly, we slightly reduced the percentage of whole clusters by destemming around 35% of the bunches – this decreases the volume of potassium pick up and pH meltdown.” Eben is an outstanding grower of vines and maker of wines; his whites and reds are splendid!

      Bernard De Boer | 5 October 2021

      If not up to standard, should not be released. Poor sod will pick up 3 x Soldaat 2015s on Strauss online 10 Oct (6 – 8 k estimates).
      But yes the 2020 seems much better after remedial work to the vineyard.

    GillesP | 26 August 2021

    I am not surprised here Bernard De Boer. All my bottles were undrinkable. I returned all the non open ones to Wine Cellar.

    Bernard De Boer | 26 August 2021

    Opened this wine tonight and it is very difficult to palate to be honest. I’m an Old Vines fan but this is quite a strange one for me. I see untasted by Platter ( maybe why?). It maybe saw too much stems but the fruit don’t shine for me.
    And yes I had the other one a year ago and it was also not a beaut.
    AA Raaigras 2029 to the rescue!

      Colin | 28 August 2021

      I had precisely the same experience with this wine in its youth. Bought a few bottles on release, opened a few and poured them out after tasting them. Terrible. It motivated me to stop buying Ouwingerd reds and to only get the whites (which are absolutely superb).

    Lloyd | 11 August 2016

    Interesting review Christian. Can’t wait to try it. I recall you gave Testalonga’s King of Grapes one point more. How do these 2 wines compare? Fruit purity and fine tannins taking preference over an abundance of whole bunch character? And which wine do you imagine to age better? I think a Grenache blind-tasting of the heavy weights is in order!

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