What I Drank Last Night
Good Booze. Good Food. Good Company.


Radford Dale Woolworths Syrah Reserve 2012

Ticks all the boxes.

Ticks all the boxes.

There’s much to like about the Syrah Reserve 2012 from Radford Dale made exclusively for Woolworths. Stylistically, it’s new wave exhibiting fruit more than oak, not being too heavily extracted and possessing a moderate alcohol of 13.5%.

From Helderberg vineyards, the wine underwent spontaneous fermentation and was matured for 16 months in 300-litre and 500-litre barrels, 97% French and 3% American, 25% new.

It’s accessible without being facile. Oodles of red and black berries but also notes of white pepper, spice and fynbos. Structurally, it’s medium bodied with bright acidity and just the right amount of tannic grip. And perhaps the nicest thing of all about it is that it comes in at under a hundred bucks – R99.95 to be precise.

Score: 91/100.

Comments

  1. Hi Christian. I’m sitting at Heathrow on my way to Burgundy and just reading your comments. What, as in the case of Nudity, are you exactly wary of by the way ?

    I’m delighted you enjoyed our 2012 Radford Dale Syrah Reserve for Woolies. It’s a cool wine and we really had a good time working with the Woolies team putting it together. They understand their consumer so well and it was a really interesting exercise making this wine with them.

    The Nudity is a far more specialised project and without a doubt the most challenging test we’ve set ourselves to-date. It has been a run-away success in the UK and Sweden, where I have just spent 2 weeks, where we’ve opened many doors to establishments previously closed to SA wines (old-fashioned Sommeliers in particular, with a perception of SA red wines as too alcoholic, too extracted, oaky and sweet).

    We’ll let you taste the 2013 Nudity when we release it later in the year. Maybe you’ll start to modify your wariness when you see how consistent, stable and fresh it is. At 12.2 alcohol it’s even purer than the 2012 and an absolute treat.

    In the meanwhile, a bottle each of the Frankenstein 2012 & 2013 Pinotage are on their way to you.

    Cheers,

    Alex

    • Christian says:

      Hi Alex, My wariness of no or low sulphur wines comes down to issues of stability. I recall a Jörg Pfützner birthday party where he served Matassa Blanc 2006 and every bottle in the case was radically different. Those kind of experiences tend to stick with you… I like the idea of no sulphur (in the sense of bringing the drinker that much closer to the wine) but I think it’s a difficult trick to pull off.

      Look forward to trying the Frankenstein Pinotage!

      Regards,
      Christian

      • Stability is my point entirely, as I understand where you are coming from. To give you an idea, we shipped cases of the 2012 Nudity in non-refrigerated containers to Phnom Penh, New York, London and Stockholm to test its stability -under the least favourable shipping conditions. It didn’t budge an iota. It helps that there is no microbiological activity in the wine and that its analysis is so well balanced (thanks to the awesome fruit quality, from an organic vine, a decade without pesticides, chemicals etc). In other words, it is a natural wine without all the deviations and latent instability one often finds in those wines which go all weird in the bottle down the track. We also left one barrel of the same 2012 Nudity in barrel for 27 months (until 2 weeks ago) on its lees, to see how it would fare, thinking it would help us measure its potential longevity. It hadn’t deteriorated at all, its VA didn’t climb and the wine remained completely stable. To be completely honest, we were very surprised. Even the hue remained purple. Again showing that if the wine is completely stable in the barrel, and that it is bottled correctly, there is no reason why is should not remain so. For how long we don’t know but it will be interesting to follow. We recently tasted the 2012, 2013 (from bottle) and 2014 (from barrel) side by side and they were remarkably similar. Far more so than with the more conventionally produced versions… If you’re interested, I can organise a vertical for you of the 3 vintages, at the end of the year once the 2014 is bottled. Meanwhile, I’m now in Burgundy and have already started tasting various other naturally produced wines which do nothing but encourage me more in this direction. It’s riskier and it’s costlier but ultimately, it is more rewarding for the ideals we hold dear. Cheers to all. Alex

  2. Kwispedoor says:

    I dig Radford Dale’s wines. Have you tasted their Frankenstein Pinotage 2012, Christian?

  3. So its better than the Nudity then? I’ve really enjoyed the Nudity although it appears I’m in the minority on that front.

    • Christian says:

      Hi Dean, Call me a stick-in-the-mud but I’m wary of no-sulphur wines as is the case with Nudity. It’s possibly more interesting to the aficionado but the Reserve 2012 is just so damn sexy. (Link to Nudity review here: http://www.whatidranklastnight.co.za/what-i-drank-last-night/radford-dale-nudity-syrah-2012/).

    • Dean, welcome to the Minority Report. It’s a good place to be.

      • Christian says:

        Hi Joe, I’m trying to get my unique users above you, Dean and my mum…

      • Christian, luckily we al know how much you love your mom.

      • Thanks Joe. If it means there is more of the Nudity on the shelves for me (us) to buy all the better!

        I purchased a bottle of the Reserve yesterday and there is not a drop of it left (I did share some with my wife). Slightly, pleasantly wild on the nose to start. The fruit really developed over time becoming the “oodles” Christian described. The best part about this wine for me was the tannins: chalky, drying, supportive. I have to disagree with Christian about it medium bodied, however. Certainly full-bodied in my books! Possibly a bit of Mourvedre in there?

        I can’t really say which one I prefer. But at R99 a bottle, the Reserve is a pleasant throwback to that Sequillo 2008 Private Bin SMG Woolies had a while back. So the Reserve might end up making more frequent appearances in my humble wine glasses, with the Nudity saved for when I really want a treat!

      • Christian says:

        Hi Dean, “Body” or palate weight is always relative. While the Reserve is hardly slight, it ain’t no Hartenberg Gravel Hill…

      • Ah, I see (and take) your point! Thanks as always Christian.

Speak Your Mind

*

Current day month ye@r *