Wine O’Clock with Radford Dale’s Jacques de Klerk

In our debut edition of Wine O’Clock we chat to the winemaker of Stellenbosch winery Radford Dale on IG Live and bring you a limited-edition, discounted case of wine exclusive to Lifestyling.

It’s Wine o’Clock with Lifestyling.co.za! In our new monthly series we’re chatting to a winemaker from one of our favourite local artisanal wineries, live on Instagram, where you’ll be able to ask questions while we pick their brains on all things wine. Listen in on the recorded live chat above and if your tastebuds are sufficiently curious, you can order a limited-edition case of Radford Dale wine from us, exclusive to Lifestyling.co.za, so you can get to know their wine even more intimately.⁠

For our launch edition we have Radford Dale winemaker Jacques de Klerk. We’ve been coveting their terroir-forward wines that have made heroes of our heritage grapes, Chenin and Pinotage, and introduced us to new-grape-on-the-SA-block Gamay Noir, and we can’t get enough. Not to mention the best Burgundies not from Burgundy you’ll taste all year – trust us on this one!⁠

Just last week Radford Dale was nominated New World Winery of the Year in Wine Enthusiast. It’s an amazing achievement as the only South African winery to receive this honour this year. That’s after receiving ratings of between 90 and 95 Tim Atkin 2020 South Africa Report for an astounding 10 of their wines. ⁠

Radford Dale Wine Enthusiast Wine Star Awards
Radford Dale team: Wine Enthusiast Wine Star Awards 2020 Nominee for Best New World Winery

To order this limited-edition mixed case from Radford Dale for just R1500 (discounted by 10%) send us an email to orders@lifestyling.co.za. Option to collect from Radford Dale in Stellenbosch or courier nationwide for R120.

Wine Notes on our Radford Dale limited-edition mixed case exclusive to Lifestyling.

Radford Dale Vinum Chenin
Chenin Blanc
W.O. Stellenbosch
Alcohol 11.5%vol
Total Acidity 5.7g/l
pH 3.41
Residual Sugar 2.2g/l

Vinum Chenin Blanc 2019

R160 per bottle

IN THE VINEYARD
The gnarled old bush vines that produce this characterful Chenin Blanc are planted in some of the purest granite soils on the foothills of the magnificent Helderberg Mountain in Stellenbosch. The vines are mainly grown under dryland conditions, meaning they are not irrigated, and therefore their roots plunge metres into the granite subsoil in search of moisture. The altitude of the vineyards, the steep South-East facing slope and the proximity to False Bay mean that these vines are well exposed and cooled by winds that come off the ocean during the long, hot summer. These factors combine to produce a wonderfully fresh and vivacious expression of what is to us, the Cape’s greatest grape.


IN THE CELLAR
Grapes were picked by hand as well as manually sorted to ensure that we maintain the purity of varietal expression for which this wine has become known. Gentle de-stemming before equally gentle pressing in a pneumatic bag press were used and the extracted juice was settled in chilled stainless-steel tanks prior to alcoholic fermentation. This took place mainly in tank, on the lees, with about 40% of the must being transferred into Burgundian barrels for natural fermentation – an equal mix of new, 2nd and 3rd fill. There was also a small portion of skin contact. In combination these steps have resulted in the preservation of freshness, but also development of considerable fruit and aromatic intricacy in the wine alongside the mineral edge it so proudly displays. The wine retains lively fruit, a lithe texture, steely acidity & abundant aromatic concentration: the exact qualities you’d expect from beautiful old vines in this area.

A NOTE FROM THE WINEMAKER
The fresh vibrancy of white peach and apple aromas on the nose, hint at the wine’s sophisticated elegance and a touch of cinnamon and adds to its complexity. A generous mid palate of quince, pineapple and a weighty feel reward while the bright acidity refreshes with an interesting tang and persistent clean, mineral finish.

Radford Dale Renaissance Chenin
Chenin Blanc
W.O. Stellenbosch
Alcohol 12.5%vol.
Total acidity 5.8g/l
pH 3.34
Residual sugar 3.2g/l

The Renaissance of Chenin Blanc 2018

R415 per bottle

IN THE VINEYARDS
The fruit for this wine is grown in a single block of old, unirrigated bush vine Chenin on the foot slopes of the Helderberg Mountain, facing South East across False Bay. These vines grow high on a steep slope in slightly decomposed granite soils with patches of pure quartz near the top. These gnarled, old vines never yield a big crop (35hL/Ha or 5t/Ha), but because of this, the berries and bunches are small and the fruit is wonderfully concentrated.


IN THE CELLAR
Some of the grapes were whole bunch pressed, some skin macerated and the free-run juice was settled for two days before being poured into barrel. Alcoholic fermentation was carried out entirely in old oak barrel (using only natural ambient yeast) for 8 – 10 weeks under cool conditions (fermentation peaking at about 18°). Malolactic fermentation was inhibited by the cold. The wine was kept on its primary lees throughout maturation, racked out of barrel after about 9 months, assembled and then settled for a month.


A NOTE FROM THE WINEMAKER
Through profound understanding of this vineyard, rather than manipulating the wine, we have been able to create a wine that reflects its site through freshness, elegance, finesse and purity. Often shunned and disrespected by winemakers and consumers alike, there is, in certain worthy quarters, an ascending realisation of the tremendous potential of this grape, Chenin Blanc – South Africa’s most noble grape. As devotees of true character and finesse often swim upstream against the populous tide, a fresh generation of Chenin producers is bringing to the surface some of the most interesting, bright, mineral and idiosyncratic wines of the Cape. The Renaissance of Chenin Blanc is all about subtlety and finesse. It is driven by its citrus fruit spectrum and has a wonderful refreshing saltiness.

Radford Dale chardonnay
Chardonnay
W.O. Stellenbosch
Alcohol 12.5%vol
Total acidity 5.3g/L
pH 3.41
Residual Sugar 2.7g/L

Radford Dale Chardonnay 2018

R310 per bottle

IN THE VINEYARDS
Fruit from two exceptional, ocean facing sites on the foothills of the Helderberg is used for this Chardonnay. With the vines now 26 years old, the wine that these vines produce shows the typical intensity that one can expect from mature Chardonnay vineyards. The crunchy, granite derived soil type (Clovelly) imparts a lovely, flinty minerality to the wine and proximity to sea means the wine naturally possesses a bracing freshness.


IN THE CELLAR
The grapes were all hand-picked at dawn into small lug-bins, chilled in our white wine cellar, then hand-fed over a sorting table. Whole bunch pressed, with the free-run juice settled for two days before being gravity-fed into barrel. Alcoholic fermentation entirely carried out in barrel (only using natural ambient yeast) for 8–10 weeks. Cellar maintained very cold at about 10° Celsius (fermentation peaking at about 18°), then temperature dropped to 7°. Racked out of barrel after 9 months on the lees, assembled and settled with a light bentonite fining and no filtration until bottling.


A NOTE FROM THE WINEMAKER
With strong influence of Alex Dale’s upbringing in Burgundy, the making of this Chardonnay is also adapted to our particular conditions in this ocean-facing part of the Cape – our mineral geology and temperate maritime climate both lending much to the equation. Restraining acidity, citrus flavours and integrated oaking, the introverted side of its character; ripeness and great persistence on the palate the more expansive side. Genuinely mineral, with a crisp lime- citrus edge and an elegant yet intense durability. A Chardonnay striving to be individual, focused on backbone and not butter.

Radford Dale Thirst Gamay Noir
Gamay Noir
W.O. Stellenbosch
Alcohol: 12%
Total Acidity: 5.7g/l
PH: 3.7
Residual sugar: 1.8g/l

THIRST Gamay 2020

R165 per bottle

Thirst Gamay is a refreshing, lower alcohol, naturally-made wine, with minimal intervention. We have not stripped it of any natural components, and it is not fined. Why?

Thirst is a live rock concert rather than a manufactured, boyband studio album. Our aim is to express its environment, the varietal and the vintage, in the most natural way. Our simple logic is, the less you manipulate the wine, the better it is, and we therefore capture its integrity, energy and individuality.

Only 8 hectares of Gamay are planted in South Africa and this vineyard is situated in Stellenbosch on a South East-facing slope.

Low, single wire trellising and the sprawling growth of the variety mean that grapes are carried within the canopy, which shelters the thin-skinned bunches from too much direct sunlight, thus conserving natural acidity and freshness. This vineyard is 23 years old so its yields are small, as can be expected from a vineyard of this age. We picked early but with optimum ripeness. In the cellar, whole bunch carbonic maceration methods were used during the fermentation, then the grapes were basket pressed resulting in a wonderfully perfumed fruit expression. No oak used at all.

This rare Gamay is lean and light but by no means simple. The palate displays supple tannins that provide texture, expressive red fruits on the nose and palate, herbaceous tomato-leaf and a fantastic length. Utterly smashable and the perfect Summer red.

Radford Dale Vinum Pinotage
Pinotage
W.O. Stellenbosch
Alcohol 13%vol
Total Acidity 4.7g/l
pH 3.76
Residual Sugar 1.5g/l

Radford Dale Vinum Pinotage 2019

R175 per bottle

IN THE VINEYARD
This vineyard is located in the northern part of the Stellenbosch region and is 23 years old. As is typical in our region, the alluvial soil in this vineyard contains a high proportion of decomposing granite which comes from the magnificent mountains which surround us. It was wonderful to see the vitality that returned to our vineyards after the relatively good rains preceding the 2019 harvest and rainfall figures came close to the long term average for Stellenbosch. As usual, the grapes were harvested by hand early in the morning into 20kg lug boxes then transported to our cellar.

IN THE CELLAR
At the cellar, the grapes were manually sorted to ensure only the best bunches were used. Our primary objective with this wine was to use wild fermentation led by carbonic maceration to reveal the hidden side of Pinotage. This whole berry, natural fermentation took place in open, 600L wooden fermenters for a very soft extraction of colour, flavour and tannins. Once the alcoholic fermentation had finished, we transferred the pomace to our press where the wine was gently removed from the skins and then moved into small, Burgundian barrels (228L and 300L), an equal mix of 2nd, 3rd & 4th fill for malolactic fermentation and maturation. No new oak was used as we wanted the wine to exhibit its freshness while adding texture and complexity.

A NOTE FROM THE WINEMAKER
We believe Pinotage is a fantastic yet misunderstood varietal which benefits from a gentle touch, in order to uncover its true potential and unique qualities. This vintage of Radford Dale Vinum Pinotage expresses the real nature of what this grape has to offer – refreshing, juicy black fruits with poise and elegance and ripe tannins.

Radford Dale Black Rock Rhone blend
Cinsault/Syrah/Carignan
Swartland, South Africa
Alcohol 12.5%
Total acidity 5.5 g/l
pH 3.59
Residual sugar 2.5 g/l

Radford Dale Black Rock 2017

R415 per bottle

IN THE VINEYARDS
Since 2003, we’ve been working with old bush vines in the Swartland that produce this distinctive blend. The region is known for its dry, semi-arid climate and in 2017, during the approach to harvest, daytime temperatures were as high as ever, with little respite at nighttime. We harvest early to preserve balance and capture the bright, natural acidity with which these varieties ripen. Drought has been a fact of life in the Swartland over the past few years, but these old vines have never been irrigated and have therefore adapted their root structures to plunge many metres deep into the granite subsoil. If there is moisture to be found, these vines will find it. Smaller crops are a direct result of the drought and a subsequent shift in the varietal makeup has meant that only Cinsault, Syrah and Carignan were incorporated in this vintage of Black Rock.

IN THE CELLAR
As is our custom, only hand harvesting was employed to bring the grapes from the vineyards to our cellar and from there, bunch sorting was carried out by hand. Grapes were destemmed and lightly crushed and moved to fermentation vats. A key feature of our process with this wine is that all varieties are co-fermented instead of fermenting separately and then blending. This allows for a much more harmonious and seamless blend. From here the wine was drawn off and skins lightly pressed. Barrel maturation lasted 18 months with most of the barrels ranging from 2nd to 6th fill. The wine matured on its primary lees for the duration of its time in barrel in order to build the complexity of the palate while practically eliminating the need for sulphur additions. As with all our red wines, this was not fined or filtered prior to bottling.

A NOTE FROM THE WINEMAKER
Earlier picking means lower alcohol and bright, fresh expression of the fruit. The nose shows complexity through interesting spice and fynbos aromas and a prominent dark fruit note. On the palate, the wine delights with generous concentration and refined, smooth texture. This vintage is a bit bolder than the 2016 and this is driven by the spiciness from the old vine Syrah yet it is still delicate because of the warmth of fruit that comes from Cinsault and Carignan, which also adds a savoury element to the wine.

Ordering information

Order your case until 12 November 2020 for November delivery to enjoy this 10% discount exclusive to Lifestyling.

To order this limited-edition mixed case from Radford Dale for just R1500 email orders@lifestyling.co.za. Option to collect from Radford Dale in Stellenbosch or courier nationwide for R120.

radforddale.com | @Radford_Dale | @reveriechenin.

Words: Sarah Jayne Fell with tasting notes by Radford Dale
Interview: Jacques de Klerk and Sarah Jayne Fell
Production: Sarah Jayne Fell