AA Badenhorst Family Wines 
New star from the Swartland; South Africa revisited part 3

Adi Badenhorst was until recently the winemaker for Rustenberg, but left to strike out on his own, forming AA Badenhorst Family Wines. His 60 hectare farm (with 28 hectares of vines) is on the Malmesbury side of the Paardeberg Mountain, and he's owned the property for a couple of years now with his cousin. Four wines are made: a red and white, and then a lower priced red and white using a neighbour’s grapes to supplement his own.

Badenhorst is a showman, with a nice line in self-deprecation. He boasts of his lack of winery equipment and primitive facilities, but I suspect that his winemaking decisions – and lack of sophisticated manipulations – is a carefully considered choice. As is the wonderfully retro label design. 

Badenhorst describes his efforts as hobby winemaking. 'I sell grapes and have a very old winery last used in the 1950s,' he explains, 'with old concrete tanks and wooden fermenters.' There’s no crushing or destemming here, for either white or red.

The soils in his vineyard are granite. 'On Paardeberg there are six different types of granite, and we have three here,' says Adi. 'They all look the same on the surface but underneath there are different forms of degradation of the granite bed rock.' Granite tends to bring freshness to wines.

Adi doesn't do a barrel selection for his top wines. 'The imperfections at the barrel stage are the things that give the wine character later on,’ he says. He’s also trying to work naturally. ‘We don’t want anything other than the grape in here.’ His red spends as long as six months on the skins, and during this post-fermentation maceration, Adi says that the wine goes through ‘hectic’ stages. He’s not worried about the alcohol extracting seed tannins. ‘For me, the seed tannin is fabulous: it’s the most complete tannin; the longest lasting tannin.’


AA Badenhorst Family Secateurs White 2009 Swartland, South Africa
Made in concrete tanks, this is a Chenin Blanc using Adi’s grapes and those from a neighbor. Beautifully focused with some floral overtones to the densely textured fruit, with notes of cream, toast, herbs and straw. Just lovely and a bit of a bargain. 91/100 (£8.50 Swig) 02/10

AA  Badenhorst Family Secateurs Red 2007 Swartland, South Africa
Fresh and focused with nice cherry and plum fruit. Stylish, pure and quite elegant. 90/100 (£9.50 Swig) 02/10

AA Badenhorst Family White 2007 Swartland, South Africa
A blend of Roussanne (70%), Grenache Blanc, Viognier, Chenin Blanc and Sauvignon Blanc, pressed into old vats. This is bright and quite taut with nice lemony herby complexity and good freshness. There’s also some nutty, straw-like savouriness. Long finish: taut and quite serious. 92/100 (£22 Swig) 11/09

AA Badenhorst Family Red 2006 Swartland, South Africa
A blend of Shiraz (92%), Mourvèdre and Cinsault, whole bunch fermented and left for six months on skins before pressing. Intense, meaty and savoury with lovely complex spiciness. Robust but complex nose is thrilling. The palate is profound: long, spicy, dense, characterful and with fresh acidity. A wine that manages to be both robust and elegant at the same time. 95/100 (£22 Swig) 11/09

Part 1, Tulbagh Mountain Vineyards
Part 2, Cape Point Vineyards
Part 3, AA Badenhorst Family Wines
Part 4, Eben Sadie: Sadie Family Wines and Sequillo Cellars
Part 5, Paul Kretzel of Lammershoek
Part 6, Mullineux Family Wines
Part 7, Vondeling
Part 8, Scali
Part 9, Sterhuis
Part 10, Raats
Part 11, Migliarina
Part 12, Charles Back and Fairview
Part 13, Hermit on the Hill
Part 14, Klein Constantia
Part 15, Iona, Elgin
Part 16, Paul Cluver, Elgin
Part 17, Eagles' Nest, Constantia
Part 18, Anthonij Rupert
Part 19, Oak Valley, Elgin
Part 20, Shannon, Elgin

Wines tasted as indicated  
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