Grapelive: Wine of the Day August 1, 2015

2012Columella2012 The Sadie Family, Columella “Liberatus in Castro Bonae Spei” Proprietary Red, Swartland, South Africa.
The Columella by Eben Sadie is one of the great wines of the world, I cannot stress that enough and is one of the finest Rhone blends I’ve ever tasted, without a doubt the most impressive South African wine to date, along with Storm Pinot Noir and Hamilton Russell Chardonnay are among the mind blowing offerings coming from the Southern Hemisphere. It’s no secret The Sadie Family wines are amazing wines and the Columella has been made since 2000, but I’ve not had a taste before and I was floored by the 2012 recently when I tried it, their importer Broadbent Selections was kind enough to sample some. To give you an idea how good I mean, the Columella reminds me of Beaucastel’s Reserve Homage Jacques Perrin or a great vintage of Rayas, it is monumental red Rhone blend, for those in the new world think; Cayuse, Saxum or Sine Qua Non, it is mostly Syrah with a good dose of Mourvedre and Grenache, plus possibly though not listed or confirmed a tiny bit of Cinsault is likely. This wine has redefined my opinion of top end South African wines, and certainly this wine is expensive, it proves it’s worth in detail, finesse and style, it is hand crafted with gifted talent and loving care. Fermented with some whole cluster, aged in barrel for about 12 months with between 5% and 10% new wood, that is something 2 new barriques out of the 18 to 20 barrels made per vintage, then the wine rests in large neutral founders until bottling, with usual alcohol in the 13.5 to 14% range. The 2012 Columella is gorgeously proportioned and deep with a nose of intoxicating floral and spice with a medium dark hue that learns towards garnet with ruby edges leading to a full, but impeccably balanced palate with utterly spectacular textural mouth feel and depth with blueberry, boysenberry, earthy mulberry and damson plum fruits, violets, dried roses, cracked pepper, bacon/meaty notes, lavender, melted black licorice, cedar, tobacco leaf and light creme de cassis as well as glazed strawberry and dusty mineral/stone tones. This is wildly seductive wine, bursting with energy, focus and pure class and the lingering finish will haunt your dreams for days, just ravishing stuff, drink over the decade to come, this is a buy it if you see it effort from Sadie, best from 2016 to 2025.
($79-90 Est.) 97 Points, grapelive