Friday, December 20, 2013

Updated Review: **** $$$ Radford Dale Shiraz, Stellenbosch, South Africa, 2009

By way of background, opening thoughts:  Stellenbosch is perhaps the most widely-known wine region for classic varietals in South Africa, situated in the Western Cape province, a few miles east of Cape Town.  Today we will be sampling a shiraz from the region.  The shiraz comes from Radford Dale, a winemaker that forms a bedrock part of Barclay's Wine, which provided the review sample from its online collection.

Original tasting and review , December, 2011: This is Radford Dale Shiraz, Stellenbosch, South Africa, 2009, finished at 14.% alcohol.

In the glass: Medium deep magenta.

On the nose: Poured cool with a brief decant and swirled vigorously, shows depth of fruit and old-world banana, if such a concept makes sense (think a light touch of pleasant old world funk tangled with a more new world subtle banana essence).  Also, clear smoky notes.  From the aroma, seems like this will be rich and flavorful.

On the palate: The primary elements on the palate are in fact much as anticipated.  Bold, frontal, deep, smoky blackberry comes on strong, quickly balanced by substantial and lifting acids.  Powerful and flavorful - but the brightness brought by the acidity will let this pair with bold foods in ways that big new world shiraz will often fall short.  The finish is lengthy, driven by the acid, which embeds the substantial fruit into your cheeks.

In summary: Overall, three stars on the five-star Spirit of Wine scale,  with a plus for its balanced power and layered flavors.

Following long decant, full day kept cool in partially filled bottle: The touch of funk has faded from the nose, which still displays dark fruit and char-broiled banana.  Palate remains quite consistent.

Updated review, two years later, December 2013:  Deep magenta in the glass, opaque from about a half inch in from the edge.  Clean, old world aroma still showing charcoal banana.  Yummy, fleshy and smokey on the palate, with deep blackberry and plenty of tannin holding up the rear.  The balance and power raises tthe rating to four stars.   Strong showing, even given its healthy price point.

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

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