2018 Sadie Family Wines, Tinta Barroca “Treinspoor” Old Vine Series, Swartland, South Africa.
Every single time I have a Eben Sadie wine I am left monumentally and profoundly moved by them, they are are some of the world’s most amazing efforts, especially these old vine bottlings like this gorgeous, dark and textural Tinta Barroca Treinspoor and his Rhone style blend Columella, which is without a doubt one of my top 10 wines I’ve ever had! This Treinspoor old bush vine Tinta Barocca is deep in complexities and inky in color with a fresh intensity on the palate with concord, black currant, plum and kirsch leading the way before the whole bunch array of spices, floral tones, dried herbs come out along with crushed stones, pomegranate and tart strawberries. With air this wine continues to impress and have a serious impact adding savory and earthy notes and a seductive texture, this is absolutely addictive stuff, it is totally unique in taste and style, sitting somewhere between an old school Burgundy with its silken form and nice acidity and a Corbieres (as this grape reminds me of old vine Carignan), with its country like raw appeal, authentic nature, with sage/lavender and a touch of game, plus a sense of remoteness. Tinta Barroca is a Portuguese varietal that is now primarily found in the Douro region, especially in the cooler sections of this River Valley on the northern facing hillsides as it has delicate skins and it is a common blending grape in Port wines where it adds color, acidity and complexity. The 2018 Sadie Tinta Barroca is joyously fresh and vibrant in the glass and gets more intriguing with every sip, but is also wonderfully comfortable, not a diva, this wine is not flashy or sexed up, but it delivers much more than promised, enjoy it with simple cuisine and friends. I will buy more of this wine, no question, plus Sadie’s Cinsault and Chenin based offerings too, which are some of his best values.

Winemaker Eben Sadie’s Treinspoor 100% Tinta Barroca, a grape that he loves mostly for blending, is sourced from a vineyard planted in 1974 on decomposed granite and Swartland’s table mountain sandstone, on the western side of the Malmesbury zone. According to the winery, this vineyard is located next to the old railway line (treinspoor) and was named accordingly and simply in this case. The area is fairly warm, causing a bit of concern as the thin skin of Tinta Barocca is prone to sunburn, but Sadie and team have been confident enough to express this grape solo because the old bush vines have formed a great framework to keep the bunches sheltered from the intense South African sun. The deep inky color and zesty acidity of Tinta Barroca have made it a favorite component, as mentioned, in Sadie’s blends for a long while now. While best as a blender, this wine proves, as the vines reach a certain maturity it has all the qualities and expressiveness too be a single varietal bottling. Sadie believes that Tinta Barocca captures the Swartland region in its purist form (like Mencia in the Ribeira Sacra? maybe.), high praise indeed for a grape that is almost unheard off to most of the world, he adds that it seems to need much more time to really show its best and that he suggests some cellaring will benefit those that have patience. I wouldn’t know about that sadly as I couldn’t keep my hands off it! The Teinspoor was crafted using whole-cluster fermentation and it was naturally fermented with minimal intervention, as is the way with all of Sadie’s wines a noted natural style winemaker. After maceration and primary fermentation the Tinta Barroca is pressed into concrete along with older oak casks and was aged for about 12 months. If you’ve not heard of Sadie Family, you need to change that and South African wines are suffering from a COVID related and ignorant government lock down a export ban, so it is a great time to support our friends there and buy their wines.
($55 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive

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