The second release (2022) of the Vinum range from Radford Dale, South Africa – poise, elegance, affordability

Last year I reported on this exciting new range of wines from Radford Dale, and here are my notes on the second release, the 2022. They had been using the Vinum range for a while (it’s 20 years old), but here we have new wines, new packaging, and the wines massively over-deliver for the price. Full details can be found on their website. These wines hit the UK retail market at RRP £15.95 (agent is Les Caves de Pyrene), which is a nice price point for this quality level.

The Chenin Blanc typically includes around 40% of fruit from the vineyard supplying their flagship Chenin, Renaissance (in 2022, this rose to 50%). Winemaker Jacques de Klerk has worked with this vineyard since 2009, and has rehabilitated it. Multiple pickings yield a range of ingredients for the Renaissance, which leaves lots of bits to go into this Vinum – there’s even a bit of skin contact. The Pinotage takes some fruit from their Frankenstein vineyard, plus other portions, and is made in a Burgundy meets Beaujolais style, focusing on the elegant side of this variety.

Because the Radford Dale Chardonnay in the terroir series will now come from the Radford Dale Organic farm in Elgin (ex-Elgin Ridge) this leaves the Polkadraai fruit free for the Vinum wine: this is a SE-facing site with 28 year old vines. And the Vinum Gamay fills the slot between Thirst and Antidote, and uses fruit from the young Polkadraai vines planted in 2017 (0.5ha) and 2019 (0.4ha). Finally, there’s the Pinot Noir, from Stellenbosch and Bot River, which may seem a bit surprising, and the Grenache which comes from 8 year old vines Radford Dale planted in Stellenbosch.

Radford Dale Vinum Grenache 2022 Stellenbosch, South Africa
13% alcohol. A second vintage from the Stellenbosch mountain is included this year, in addition to the young vines on the home Helderberg farm. Juicy and vivid with sweet plums and cherries, with pepper and mint notes. Sweet strawberry and raspberry on the palate with a juicy edge, fine green hints and a touch of pepper. There’s a lovely finesse to this with good acidity and a sense of purity. 94/100

Radford Dale Vinum Grenache 2021 Stellenbosch, South Africa
13.5% alcohol. Supple, fresh aromatics of strawberry and cherry with some herbal overtones. The palate is light, fresh and direct with bright cherry and plum fruit, as well as some stony mineral notes and a twist of fresh herbs. There’s real drinkability to this light, elegant expression of Grenache, but there’s also a bit of stuffing too. Juicy and supple, and with lots of drinkability. On day two this really comes into its own. 93/100

Radford Dale Vinum Gamay Noir 2022 Stellenbosch, South Africa
13% alcohol. There’s a second vineyard in the mix this year, and they were able to pick the younger vineyard on the Polkadraai a bit later. Nice depth here with warm, sweet spicy cherry and berry fruit with a slight herby, peppery edge and nice depth. There’s a sweet, viscous core to the fruit. Rich and spicy. 93/100

Radford Dale Vinum Gamay Noir 2021 Stellenbosch, South Africa
11.5% alcohol. This is a very light, fresh, supple expression of Gamay, with cranberry and cherry notes, a slight leafiness and some real brightness. There’s lovely perfume and the fruit on the palate is deliciously crunchy – despite the low alcohol, this wine is ripe and it has a lot of drinkability. As with all these young Vinum reds, a decant is advised (they all taste great on day 2), and it can be served slightly chilled too. 93/100

Radford Dale Vinum Pinotage 2022 Coastal Region, South Africa
Vivid, bright raspberry and blackberry fruit on the nose. Juicy and lively with subtle green herby notes. So fresh, but also rich at the same time. Shows blackcurrant, blackberry and a lively sweet spicy quality. Beautifully dense. 91/100

Radford Dale Vinum Pinotage 2021 Coastal Region, South Africa
11.5% alcohol. Bright, vibrant raspberry and redcurrant fruit aromas with a liqueur-like sweetness and some freshness. The palate is bright, vibrant and focused with a slight sternness under the sleek, fresh cherry and plum fruit. There’s a touch of greenness as well as some cedar, adding some savoury elements/ This is direct, with nice purity, and superb drinkability and balance. 91/100

Radford Dale Vinum Pinot Noir 2022 Western Cape, South Africa
13% alcohol. Supple and sweet with lovely cherry and strawberry fruit showing nice texture and a slight sappy edge. So juicy but with silkiness and smoothness too. Very fine and accessible. But elegant, too. 93/100

Radford Dale Vinum Pinot Noir 2021 Western Cape, South Africa
12.5% alcohol. Fresh, bright and aromatic with some green herby hints as well as vibrant plum and strawberry fruit. Bright and quite elegant, with sweet raspberry, cherry and plum fruit on the palate as well as some notes of spice, tar and wet stones. This has lovely poise: it tastes quite Elgin-like, with that stony, savoury, slightly grunty twist under the vibrant fruit, which melts away into silky elegance on day two after opening. Massive drinkability and nice freshness. 93/100

Radford Dale Vinum Chardonnay 2022 Stellenbosch, South Africa
12.5% alcohol. A bright, fresh style but with some body. Lively citrus fruit (lemon, mandarin) with some spicy grapefruit freshness. Such focus and intensity, with some baked apple richness at the bass end and bright spicy citrus at the treble. 93/100

Radford Dale Vinum Chardonnay 2021 Stellenbosch, South Africa
12.5% alcohol. This is stony, mealy and citrussy on the nose, with a hint of pear drop. The palate is lively and intense with a stony, mineral edge to the citrus fruit, a hint of peach and pineapple richness in the background, and some bready hints. But the key theme is keen lemony fruit with a twist of pithiness and a tapering stony finish. 92/100

Radford Dale Vinum Chenin Blanc 2022 Stellenbosch, South Africa
12.5% alcohol. A lovely balance here between the rich pear and peach fruit, with some bright tapering citrus fruit. Nice tangerine finish. Fresh and expressive with good precision. 92/100

Radford Dale Vinum Chenin Blanc 2021 Stellenbosch, South Africa
12% alcohol. This is bright, vivid and citrussy with lovely acidity, but also some attractive pear and white peach notes. The keen acid line is the real backbone here: it’s got plenty of concentration, but it’s made in a linear, incisive style with real freshness, and a stony minerality. There’s some mandarin and citrus peel on the finish, adding interest. Don’t serve too cold. 93/100

UK agent: Les Caves de Pyrene

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