With a marked focus on Swartland old-vine Chenin Blanc and, more increasingly, Grenache, the David & Nadia wines have reached the pinnacle of SA’s finest offerings in a short space of time. There are only 7 wines in this year’s release and, like many of the 2020 releases, Swartland Chenin Blancs are proving to be special.
Once again, the 2019 Elpidios is David and Nadia’s Grenache-based take on an authentic Swartland red. Grown on granitic soils, it was fermented naturally and raised in various vessels, including concrete, old 500L French barrels and large 4,100L foudre.
The 2020 Aristargos white is a well-established, 9-variety blend based on old-vine Chenin. With components from 17 different vineyards, and fermented and matured in a concrete egg, it is complex and layered.
The 2020 Chenin Blanc is focused on various old-vine Chenin parcels planted between ‘68 and ‘85. Made from 7 vineyards of different ages, over 14 pickings, planted on different soils and aspects, and farmed by different farmers, David and Nadia have created an extraordinary regional Swartland expression of Chenin.
Leaders in the pursuit of Grenache, they have embarked on planting and sourcing grapes from another 3 younger vineyards. The core of the 2020 Grenache is fruit from a Paardeberg vineyard planted in 2000. Taking inspiration from the famed Château Rayas in the Southern Rhône, it is always light-footed and ethereal. Since its first release, it has been a South African touchstone for elegant, refined Grenache.
Due to scarcity and demand, the single-vineyard releases are sold on allocation only.
David & Nadia, Elpidios 2019
Notes on the 2018 vintage: ‘Grenache & syrah (33/31) lead equal carignan, cinsaut & pinotage in 2018. Savoury, juicy, with generous plum & spice countered by precise yet firm inky core. Muscular but svelte, with lacy tannins, like 2017 (4.5 stars, 93 pts). 50% wholebunch, natural ferment with cement tanks (syrah) joining neutral oak foudres & barrels. 13% alcohol, as next 2.’ – Platter’s Guide, 5* (95/100)
David & Nadia, Aristargos 2020
‘The Aristargos 2020 is yet again predominantly both Chenin Blanc and Old Vines driven (Chenin blanc, Sémillon, Clairette blanche and Colombar), and the focus remains on the granitic soils of the Paardeberg. Chenin blanc from shallow shale soilsin the Paardeberg and iron rich clay soils to the west of Malmesbury are also added along with Viognier, Marsanne, Roussanne, Verdelho and Grenache blanc from iron rich clay, lateral shale soils. For the first time, Colombar was also added. Planting dates vary from 1960 until 2013. The grapes were whole bunch pressed and naturally fermented and then matured for 11 months in old neutral French oak barrels. The grapes from the two Sémilllon vineyards were fermented on their skins for a week before being pressed and matured in a very old 2 500 L foudre for a year. The Colombar was also fermented on the skins (for 5 days) and matured in an old oak barrel. One Chenin blanc component was fermented and matured in a concrete egg. In total the grapes from 17 different vineyards were used, picked on 23 different dates.’ – David & Nadia Sadie, Winemakers
Notes on the 2019 vintage: ‘I did a double take when I realised this was the tenth vintage of Aristargos – 2010 seems like yesterday – but what a great and reliable wine it has become. Chenin-based with 50% Clairette, Semillon, Roussanne, Viognier, Marsanne, Grenache Blanc and Verdelho, it’s wonderfully complex and layered, with pear, citrus and herbal notes, a hint of peach and a long, stony finish. Drink 2021-27.’ – Tim Atkin MW, SA Special Report 2020, 94/100
David & Nadia, Chenin Blanc 2020
‘Our main Chenin blanc from the Swartland focusses yet again on various Old Vine Vineyards, with plantings ranging from 1968 till 1985. The wine is based on granite from the Paardeberg, blended with shale/schist from the east, more clay rich soils from the north and iron rich soils from the western parts of the Swartland. Dry land farmed bush vines have stood the test of time and it showcases the ultimate reason why Chenin blanc is our main focus in the Swartland. In total the wine is made from 7 vineyards, 14 pickings, different soils, different aspects, different vineyard ages, farmed by different people and different farmers. This wine illustrates the Swartland, its people and its old vineyards. The grapes were whole bunch pressed and naturally fermented and then matured for 11 months in old neutral French oak barrels. Two components were fermented and matured in concrete – one in a square concrete tank and the other in a concrete egg. The wine has a Certified Heritage Vineyards (CHV) seal and forms part of the Old Vine Project (OVP).’ – David & Nadia Sadie, Winemakers
Notes on the 2019 vintage: ‘Grapes from seven vineyards spread across the Swartland, planting dates ranging from 1962 to 1982, these all registered with the Old Vine Project. Subtle notes of pear, peach and apple on the nose before a really vivid palate – pure fruit, a lovely line of acidity and a finish that is long and saline. Detailed and harmonious. Alcohol: 13%.’ – Christian Eedes, Winemag, 95/100
David & Nadia, Grenache Noir 2020
‘The 2020 vintage consists of four Grenache Noir vineyards, with the core a vineyard from the Paardeberg planted in the early 2000’s. Joining this vineyard is another Paardeberg vineyard, recently planted on the north-eastern side of the Langkloof valley, overlooking the Aprilskloof. Another addition is a 2016 planted vineyard in schist of the Kasteelberg. This vineyard was planted on terraces high up in the mountain. Finally, Grenache noir from a farm north of Malmesbury was also added, a vineyard we have been working with since 2012. A component of the wine was fermented and matured in concrete. Juice was kept on the skins for four weeks pre-/during fermentation and 60% whole bunches were used. One punch down per day was done resulting in minimal and gentle extraction. The wine was pressed off and matured in old 500 L neutral French oak barrels as well as a 2 700 L concrete vessel for a year.’ – David & Nadia Sadie, Winemakers
Notes on the 2019 vintage: ‘Subtlety on 2019 improves on 2018 (90 pts). Reined-in power on display: sinewy yet bright, cranberry & cherry vibrancy without being overly ripe. Succulent & vivacious with a firm chalky grip. Lithe & generous, only 75% oaked, none new, remainder in concrete tank.’ – Platter’s Guide, 4.5* (94/100)