The effortless winemaker

Adi Badenhorst makes wine out of a winemakers perspective, not out of a technical approach. That seems to be a pretty great idea.

In my search for great white wines which gives me pleasure through favorite qualities like minerals, honey, fruit, butter and nuts I had to, do to insufficient funds, move out of France and Burgundy and into the underworld of the New World. There I found the Chenin Blancs of Swartland. And I found the wines of Adi Badenhorst. Both turned out to be great acquaintances.

The dodgy kind of winemaking
Last week Adi visited Norway and we met for a chat and tasting. Despite an apparently effortless approach to winemaking, Adi Badenhorst’s wines are of top quality. Most of the work is done in the vineyard where naturally grown grapes are harvested from old, robust vines, not when the moon and planets are aligned or some other crazy rules says, but when the grapes are ready, Adi explains.
– As long as it is not on a Monday after a long weekend. Or on a Friday, he adds and reveals his somewhat relaxed attitude towards winemaking. He calls his approach ”a bit dodgy” and has according to himself ”no focus on consistency”.
– We do as little as possible to the wine. It’s all natural, except for a minimal touch of sulphur when bottling. And if we see a lot of bugs in the wine we filter it, he says laughing.

Long live the revolution
Adi was one of four winemakers that established The Swartland Revolution back in 2010, a series of events that changed the way the world looked at South African wines. Last fall they claimed that the revolution was over.
– A revolution doesn’t last forever, he says.
– All we did was to highlight the different winemakers that inspired us and to show the whole range of possibilities. We created a meeting place and some great wines and producers grew out of that.
Also out of the revolution grew The Swartland Independent Producers, an organization that will continue to make wines that is a true expression of their origin and natural winemaking.
– But we don’t talk about the weather or terroir. It’s fucking boring and the French does that so much better than us, Adi claims with a big smile.

The perfect meal
– Our wines aren’t technical perfect or polished, but they are perfect to my taste. I make wine that I like, he says.
And I like it too. A lot. The Badenhorst Chenin Blanc has become my go-to everyday wine and like Adi I could drink it for breakfast.
– The most important thing in life is a perfectly poached egg, he tells me with deep sincerity.
– For a perfect breakfast I will have a poached egg on toast with salt and pepper and a glass of Chenin Blanc.
He likes to keep his food simple, just like his winemaking.
– With the red wines we usually eat chicken, rabbit or venison cooked in the oven or on the grill, and just served with some simple vegetables. The most important thing is not to talk about the food or the wine or the fucking weather, but to talk to and with each other. It is the people around the table and the socializing that makes a perfect meal, he says as we sit down to eat.

These wines are available at Vinmonopolet for you to taste:
A.A. Badenhorst Secateurs Chenin Blanc 2015
A.A. Badenhorst White Blend 2011
A.A. Badenhorst Ramnasgras Cinsault 2014
A.A. Badenhorst Secateurs Mourvedré 2014
A.A. Badenhorst Secateurs Shiraz Grenache Cinsault 2013
A.A. Badenhorst Shiraz Grenache Tinta Barocca Cinsault 2013

Read more about A.A. Badenhorst Family Wines on their homepage or check out these great blogs which has more on Adi, his visit and his wines: Hva har jeg i glasset and Vinstudinen Linn Johnsen.


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