Radford Dale Gravity 2011

Vintages: 2010 | 2009

WINE Radford Dale
VARIETAL  40% Shiraz, 31% Cabernet Sauvignon, 29% Merlot
VINTAGE 2011
APPELLATION Stellenbosch – Helderberg
ANALYSIS
alcohol 14.27by vol.
total acidity 6.1 g/l
pH 3.6
residual sugar 3.9 g/l
PRODUCTION 580 (12 x 750ml.) cases

IN THE VINEYARDS

Each parcel of these vines is situated on ocean-facing, mountain slopes of the Helderberg Mountain. These more mild maritime areas of Stellenbosch benefit from the cooling influence of the ocean breezes and the relative altitude. We pre-select the fruit in the vineyard by dropping any fruit which is not in top condition just before harvest. All grapes are then hand-picked and hand-sorted again to ensure only the best bunches make the final blend. No grapes find their way into this wine unintentionally!

IN THE CELLAR

The grapes are destemmed and only lightly crushed before going into the fermentation vats and chilled to around 12°C for a minimum of five days. This pre fermentation extraction technique is known as cold soaking and gives us a chance to extract the colour and essence of the grape from the skins as gently as possible. When fermentation does start, it does so completely spontaneously (known as “natural fermentation”) and without the aid of inoculated yeasts. With specific emphasis on gentle extraction the skins are submerged once or twice a day by manual cap punching. After fermentation the wine is left on skins for about ten days, which gives it more time to complete its leisurely extraction.  The free-run juice is then drawn off and the pomace and skins are left over-night to drip-drain into “Demi-Muids”. (These are 600L French Oak barrels we have been importing to South Africa for well over a decade).These are not mechanical pressings but natural, gravitational pressings, which give rise not only to the name of this wine but to far more integrated and supple tannins in the final wine. Furthermore, this juice is denser and richer than free-run, without the astringency of mechanical pressings. Malolactic fermentation occurs in barrel and Demi-Muids for optimum integration. After 9 months of maturation the individual components are then racked-out, assembled for the first time in tank, then returned to barrel to complete maturation over a further 5 or 6-month period.  To our knowledge, this is a unique method in South Africa and has produced a wine of depth, complexity and intensity, yet with finesse and class. By definition, production will always be extremely limited (we don’t bottle Gravity every vintage) and can only come from our finest Stellenbosch grapes.

A NOTE FROM THE WINEMAKER

Instead of producing the super ripe and overblown wines that seem to dominate the premium red blend category, our aim with Gravity has always been to craft a complex and seamless blend reflecting the fine balance between fruit ripeness and earthy vinosity that we can achieve in this incredible mountain vineyard. The exceptional structural integration of the tannin into the overall palate of the wine is its hallmark. Each varietal contributes its unique facet: the Syrah provides its persevering spiciness and its gutsy, supple body; the Cabernet offers its blueberry backbone and dense, ripe tannins; the Merlot brings deep red-berry fruit and suave mouth-feel. All knitted together by patient hands-off maturation until the ensemble, as with all good blends, becomes more than the sum of its parts. The finish of the wine shows the maritime influence of False Bay in the guise of the fresh acidity and savoury minerality  that may be enjoyed to its full, after decanting, with a hearty-and preferably festive-dinner…


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