These are some of the finest white wines we’ve tasted this year. Flying somewhat under the radar, the David & Nadia single-vineyard releases are right up there with the very best Chenins produced in SA; shoulder to shoulder with the likes of the Alheit Makstok, Rall Ava Chenin and the Sadie Family Skurfberg.
The 2018 Hoë-Steen, from a vineyard planted in 1968, is as impressive as always. The deep, iron-rich soils produce a refined, intricately detailed wine which is ‘exceptionally vivid’ according to Christian Eedes. The 2018 Skaliekop, produced off shallow shale soils, is the most intense and powerful of the three with a broad tension and weight that excites with its balance. The latest addition is the super-fine, nervy and visceral 2018 Plat’bos. Like its siblings, the grapes come from a certified heritage vineyard. The vines grow on granite soils which translates into an elegant and finessed palate with an impressively long, driven finish.
While we cannot accentuate their exceptional quality enough, all three are super-limited.
Single vineyards aside, the 2018 David & Nadia Aristargos is one of the Cape’s finest white blends. Sourced from 14 different vineyards, it’s exotic and complex and has built up an impressive track record. This is possibly the finest to date. Not to be overlooked is the straight 2018 David & Nadia Chenin Blanc. Grown on granitic soils and mostly from Paardeberg, it is lovely and juicy with classic Swartland savoury notes and an array of complex stone fruit.
Their Grenache has become a benchmark for the lighter, more elegant style and the 2018 David & Nadia Grenache has a seductive nose with floral, perfumed notes, following on to a soft, juicy palate with a medium-weight finish. Rounding out the reds is the 2017 David & Nadia Elpidios which, now Grenache-based, is one of SA’s most interesting Pinotage blends. The 2017 is a broader, more powerful red with Southern Rhône-like rustic charm and a serious Piedmontese tannin structure.
David & Nadia, Hoë-Steen Chenin Blanc 2018
Grapes from a 1968 vineyard on iron and clay-rich soils west of Malmesbury planted according to massale selection – at least two clones of Chenin Blanc as well as a few other varieties in the mix. The nose shows some struck-match reduction to go with pear, peach and lemon while the palate is pretty close to complete – great fruit definition and a lovely line of acidity make for an exceptionally vivid, seamless wine. – Christian Eedes, Winemag.co.za, 97/100
David & Nadia, Skaliekop Chenin Blanc 2018
Grapes from a 1985 vineyard planted on shallow shales soils on Paardebosch farm. Very pretty, beguiling aromatics with notes of flowers, citrus and peach while the palate has a real presence – excellent fruit concentration and tangy acidity before a long finish. Hugely satisfying to drink. – Christian Eedes, Winemag.co.za, 96/100
David & Nadia, Plat’bos Chenin Blanc 2018
Maiden vintage of a 1981 vineyard planted on granite right next to the Skaliekop vineyard. An elusive nose of pear, peach, lime and dried grass. Lean of body and linear – ‘nervy’ acidity and a pithy finish. Possessing great poise, this is an arresting wine and arguably the most geeky of the three. – Christian Eedes, Winemag.co.za, 96/100
David & Nadia, Aristargos 2018
53% Chenin Blanc, 13% Clairette Blanche, 13% Semillon, 10% Roussanne, 9% Viognier and 2% Marsanne – six varieties, 14 vineyards and 20 pickings. An exotic nose showing top notes of flowers and dried grass before peach, apricot, melon and pineapple. The palate has lovely fruit expression, zippy acidity and a savoury finish. Intricate and balanced, this moves really well – great entry and side-palate before a long finish. – Christian Eedes, Winemag.co.za, 96/100
David & Nadia, Chenin Blanc 2018
From seven vineyards, date of planting ranging from 1962 to 1982 on various soils but predominantly granite. Pear and peach plus a little earthiness on the nose. The palate is dense and textured – a great core of fruit, punchy acidity and a grippy finish. – Christian Eedes, Winemag.co.za, 93/100
David & Nadia, Elpidios 2017
First vintage of this blend to be Grenache led, the blend consisting of 31% of this variety plus 20% Syrah, 19% Carignan, 10% Cinsault and 10% Pinotage. 50% on average fermented on the stems before maturation lasting 12 months in foudre and old 500-litre barrels. The nose is brooding with notes of dried herbs, olive, liqourice and earth to go with red and black fruit while the palate is relatively lean, fresh and very savoury with firm yet fine tannins. – Christian Eedes, Winemag.co.za, 91/100
David & Nadia, Grenache 2018
One Paardeberg vineyard planted in the early 2000s provides the majority of fruit although similarly aged, organically farmed vineyards north of Malmesbury are also used. 60% whole-bunch fermentation before maturation lasting 12 months in old 500-litre barrels. An enchanting nose showing rose, wild strawberry and spice. The palate has lovely purity of fruit, fresh acidity and very fine tannins. The wine has a sucrosity about it (although no doubt technically dry) and is basically dead sexy. – Christian Eedes, Winemag.co.za, 92/100