In The Glass: AA Badenhorst – Family Blend Red 2015

by  |  01-06-2020

When interviewing a winemaker in Stellenbosch he told me, “You should head north. That’s where it’s all happening.” By “north” he meant, Swartland, the region around Malmesbury about an hour northeast of Cape Town. This was something like 10 years ago and since then, I’ve watched as the region has grown from a scant few producers to a force to be reckoned with in the Swartland Independent Producers association.

They started out as a group trying to get attention in a country where Stellenbosch, Franschoek, or others suck all the air out of the room due to their respective sizes. Because of that, they established Eben Sadie but, Adi Badehorst, despite a more modest profile, has been a strong proponent of the region as well and his wines from AA Badenhorst are simply beautiful expressions of Swartland. I’ve yet to have a less-then-fantastic bottle (see here & here for more examples) and this “Red Family Blend” I had recently was a extra special treat.

It’s so very Rhône in terms of grapes, doing a North and South mash up of Syrah with Grenache/Cinsault. But then it’s something very much its own as well, maybe because of this slash of Portugal with Tinta Barroca or maybe because it’s just “Swartland”. The wine presents you with this deep, very aromatic nose rooted in earthy notes but then on the palate gives up all kinds of dried fruit that should please just about any red wine drinker.

Adi isn’t drowning in massive production numbers, so if you can find it, swoop on it as you won’t be sorry. In fact, get two if you can as it could even see a little bit of aging to reach even more excellence!

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