Friday, December 16, 2011

Review: ***+ $$$$ Radford Dale Gravity Red Blend, Stellenbosch, South Africa, 2008

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 "Gravity", a classic, shiraz-based red varietal blend from the Stellenbosch region.

Original tasting and review : This is Radford Dale Gravity Red Blend, Stellenbosch, South Africa, 2008, finished at 14.5% alcohol.  It is a blend of 55% shiraz, 25% merlot and 20% cabernet sauvignon. 

In the glass: Deep magenta, opaque about three-quarters inch in from the edge of the glass.

On the nose: Poured cool with a brief decant and swirled vigorously, shows deep, invigorating, complex nose of earth, smoked, charred black fruit, essence of smoke and the faintest touch of the region's classic "essential oil of banana".  From the aroma, seems like this will be complex and contemplative. 

On the palate: The primary elements on the palate are in fact a medium-weight, brooding, bold and still-bright mid-palate attack of smoky blackberries and perky acids, surrounded by an ever-present and delightful soft banana-based essential oil.  The finish is exceptionally clean and crisp, but intriguingly long and full of flavor.

In summary: Overall, rates three stars on the five-star Spirit of Wine scale, with a big plus for complexity, depth and varietal character.  Likely to hold its own and even improve with age.

Following long decant, full day kept cool in partially filled bottle: More subtle nose, but composed of the same aromatic elements as before.  Palate holding up exceptionally well, with all of the bright and savory flavor components still in play.

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