21-02-2019 ~ 2 Comments

In the Glass: AA Badenhorst – Secateurs Red Blend 2012

I try to live a life as free from regret as possible and overall, I think I do a pretty decent job of keeping my “regret debt” within decent margins. There are however two regrets that keep rubbing at me in regards to my visit to the South African wine regions in 2010. The first is that I haven’t been back since. The second is that I didn’t make it up to Swartland.

To some extent this was by design as I was taking it easy due to recovering from malaria (from somewhere else that was not South Africa) and so I stayed around the Stellenbosch region. Great wines, great food, simply jaw-dropping scenery and all of it at prices quite affordable when taken in the context of how much such activities cost in many other wine regions.

Swartland (the “black land” as my friend hosting me translated it) was “way up there”, about an hour and a quarter while Stellenbosch was just 45 minutes, albeit with a radar speed camera along the way that I got hit by twice. It was clear however that Swartland was where all the groovy shit stuff was going down. It kept coming up in conversations with other winemakers and in fact, the winemaker who consulted for Blankbottle but had his day job at Goede Hoop offered to show me around the next day which unfortunately overlapped with my catching a flight.

Thankfully wine comes anew every year and is plentiful in giving second chances allowing me to taste a great wealth of Swartland wines in the years that have passed since. While I’ve encountered the wines of AA Badenhorst at various trade tastings, I’d never managed to taste this Secateurs “Red Blend”.

The blend is nuts with eight different grapes although it’s mostly Syrah and Cinsault. The winemaking is stripped down to straightforward fermentations in neutral aging vessels although the wines stay on the skins for much longer than other–apparently up to four months for some of the wines. But Adi’s creation here is what happens when I taste a wine and think, “That’s it. More please. In my glass and in my belly.”

There’s wildness to these Mediterranean and Rhône grapes that’s beautifully kept in check. A wine like this makes me think, “This is what the hardcode natural wine fans actually want to be drinking no matter what they say.” because this is, for most every definition of the phrase a “natural” wine.

It’s for wines like this as well as others like those made by Sadie Family which will see me head straight for Malmesbury the next time I’m there.


AA Badenhorst - Secateurs Red Blend 2012
Forest bramble with ripe red fruit, touches of cherry, ripe red plum, tiny bit of prune, cumin, anise, black licorice, wet cement mineral note, underlying fig jam. Crisp medium plus acidity, medium tannins, medium plus length, medium alcohol, overall medium plus body that’s ripe and lively but super fresh and balanced at the same time. Bit of rugged wildness to it but doesn’t get out of hand. Easy to drink but with just enough underlying complexity so that it stays interesting.
56% Syrah 27% Cinsaut 6% Grenache 4% Cabernet Sauvignon 7% "Others" · 13.5% · 12EUR
93 2 Stars