Friday, December 23, 2011

Review: **** $$$ Radford Dale Chardonnay, Stellenbosch, South Africa, 2009

By way of background, opening thoughts:  South Africa is becoming recognized for a number of varietals.  Interestingly, chardonnay is not among the more well-known highlights from the region.  Today, thanks to importer Barclay's Wine , we are sampling a Stellenbosch-based chardonnay from winery Radford Dale.

Original tasting and review : This is Radford Dale Chardonnay, Stellenbosch, South Africa, 2009, finished at 13.% alcohol.

In the glass: Clear with light yellow/vanilla highlights.

On the nose: Poured cool and swirled vigorously, shows distinct stainless steel plus butterscotch elements, an interesting blend of opposites.  From the aroma, seems like this will be sleek, full and flavorful.

On the palate: The primary elements on the palate are in fact much as suggested by the aromatics, but even more intense.  Brings an infinitely sleek butterscotch to the fore, sternly focused with stainless steel minerality, yet still sweet and luscious.  A lemon/orange citrus surrounds this core, leading the sip along to a lengthy and crisp finish which lodges in your cheeks for almost a full minute.  A touch of residual sugar seems to rest after the finish.

In summary: Overall, rates an impressive four stars on the five-star Spirit of Wine scale.

Following long decant, full day kept cool in partially filled bottle:  More subtle on the nose, still shows some mineralized soft fruit.  The palate has receded a bit as well - nicely knit, but more subtle.  I more enjoyed the "grab you by the lapels" effect as this came straight out of the bottle upon opening. 

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Check out today's pricing and retail availability for Radford Dale Chardonnay.

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