Friday, April 5, 2013

Updated Review: ***+ $$$ Radford Dale Black Rock Red Blend, Swartland, South Africa, 2009

By way of background, opening thoughts: Radford Dale produces a series of medium- to higher-end varietals from various regions in South Africa.  The line is featured prominently as part of the Barclay's Wine online collection, which provided this review sample. Here we have a shiraz-based blend from the Swartland region, called "Black Rock".

Original tasting and review , December, 2011: This is Radford Dale Black Rock Red Blend, Swartland, South Africa, 2009, finished at 14.5% alcohol.  This is a blend of 71% shiraz, 13% carignan (carignane), 12% grenache, 3% mourvedre and 1% viognier. 

In the glass: Deep magenta with a purplish rim, opaque about a half inch from the edge of the glass. 

On the nose: Poured at room temperature with a brief decant and swirled vigorously, shows funky deep fruit with pleasant old socks elements and undergirding deep powerful, smoky fruit.  From the aroma, seems like this will be bold and distinctive.  I believe the funk will dissipate with a bit more air.

On the palate: The primary elements on the palate are in fact deeply smoked fruit with subtle, classic, regional overtones of char-broiled bananas.  Full-bodied, but acids wash across after about five seconds and give the sip a buoyant bright feel as it moves towards a finish.  You start by thinking "smoky dark blackberries" and end by thinking "bright red currants".

In summary: Overall, its flavorful, layered distinctiveness brings it a solid three stars on the five-star Spirit of Wine scale.

Following long decant, full day kept cool in partially filled bottle: Soft smoky fruit on the nose, hardly any funk left.  The full body, smoke, acids and red berries knit nicely together now, adding place and presence.

Update review, over a year later, March, 2013:    The purple rim of color has become a bit brickish.  Still that wonderful old-world "barbeque smoked socks" smell!  On the palate, full yet balanced with acids, plenty of smoke and old-world tanginess. A plus added for the combination of old world character and new world power, despite the age.

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