A.A. Badenhorst CaperitifFrom the cellar of Kalmoesfontein and the mountain slopes of the Paardeberg comes Caperitif. Chenin Blanc fortified with spirit, gently sweetened by the sugar of the grapes, bittered by Quinchoa bark and flavored with 35 ingredients from the Cape, such as fynbos, kalmoes and naartjies.
With South Africa's good soil and ideal climate comes diverse flora and fauna. The Cape floral Kingdom, growing along a coastal stretch of about 150 miles, is the smallest and richest of the 6 floral kingdoms of the world and has the highest amount of diversity and endemic plants found anywhere on the planet. Many of these plants don't occur anywhere else and many of them have unique flavors and intriguing aromas South Africans call this "Fynbos". It forms the base of Caperitif.
For decades this unique Aperitif inspired barmen all over the world. Then, around 1910, the company that made it disappeared, and with it the product as well as the recipe. Fast foward almost 100 year to when Danish mixologist Lars Erik Lyndgaard Schmidt met Adi Badenhorst, and the ghost ingredient became first a possibility, and then a reality.
94 Points - Vinous, May 2017
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A.A. Badenhorst Family Wines are made in the Paardeberg area in Swartland district of South Africa. Owned by cousins Hein and Adi Badenhorst restored the cellar on the farm that was last used in the 1930's to make natural wines in the traditional manner. The vineyards are made up of very old bush-vines planted with Chenin Blanc (average 40 year old vines), Cinsault (average 45 years), and Grenache (average 58 years). The vines are unirrigated and farmed as biologically as possible. The vineyards are planted on East, North, and South facing slopes bringing tremendous variety to the fruit.
Region: Swartland, South Africa
Year founded: 2007
Proprietors: The handsome cousins, Hein and Adi Badenhorst
Winemaker: Adi Badenhorst
Size of property: 60 ha (148.5 acres) total, 25 ha (62 acres) planted
Terroir: The winery is located on a mountain range which is a granite outcrop and three distinctive types of granitic soil are found on this property - specifically Paardeberg, Lammershoek and Lemoenfonein granites. The soils are extremely old and considered by many to be "low potential" as vine growth is not as luxuriant as in other areas. Yields are generally quite low, averaging 3 - 4 tons/ha for Chenin Blanc. No irrigation is used as the soils have the potential to store a good amount of water and slowly release during the growing season. Rainfall is around 480mm/yr falling mainly in the winter months of May-August/September. Winters tend to be cold and wet and leaf fall is quite sudden with the onset of Winter. Otherwise, the weather is pretty much Mediterranean.
Annual production: 10,000 cases
White: Roussane, Grenache Blanc, Viognier, Chenin Blanc and Sauvignon Blanc
Red: Shiraz, Mourvedre, and Cinsault
Andre Adriaan Badenhorst's grandfather was the general manager at Groot Constantia for 46 years. His father was born there. Adi grew up between the vineyards and spent his time picking (stealing) grapes. He made his first wine with Jean Daneel at thirteen. Adi studied at Elsenburg and went on to work the harvest at Chateau Angelus and Alain Graillot in France, Wither Hills in New Zealand and locally at Simonsig, Steenberg and Groote Post. He spent nine years as winemaker at the esteemed Stellenbosch estate, Rustenberg.
In 2008, he bought a 60-hectare piece of land in the Paardeberg with his cousin Hein. Today, they practice biological farming and make natural wines in the traditional manner.
Today, Adi Badenhorst is an award winning winemaker, member of the Cape Winemakers Guild, founding member of the Swartland Revolution and Swartland Independent and an ever evolving Vigneron.
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White Varietal: Chenin Blanc / Pineau de la Loire / Steen
Number per Case: 6