A first for Radford Dale, this “Zero Sulphite” Syrah represents the culmination of everything we have learnt over many years about natural viticulture and non-interventionist winemaking. By leaving every process in the capable hands of Mother Nature, we produce a wine which reflects every aspect of its origin, the variety and the vintage, in as clear a manner as is possible. Free of any additions or treatments, it is undressed and totally natural. The result is a wonderfully expressive, complex and elegant wine. The nose beams dark red fruits, complex spice and fynbos aromas. Layers of black fruit, over a strong graphite note and super supple tannins make for a fantastically engaging palate. The wine leaves a clean, fresh and wholesome impression. Could this be the naked truth...?
In the Vineyard
This unusual Syrah comes from a single vineyard, rooted in ancient granite soils on the East facing slope of the famed Paardeberg mountain. These vines have been organically farmed for the better part of 134 years and achieved organic certification in 2010.
Through years of employing only natural viticultural methods, the proliferation of beneficial insects, microbes and indigenous vegetation in the vineyard has created a natural balance between these and the challenges nature throws our way each season. This eliminates the need for chemical fertilizers, fungicide or herbicides while developing the vines’ natural immune system. The 2018 season was dry and warm, which led to smaller berries and a significantly smaller crop.
In the Cellar
Harvesting took place only by hand into 15kg lug boxes in the early morning so that cool, intact grapes could be transported to our cellar, protecting the purity of the fruit. The bunches were then individually hand sorted before being only lightly crushed. Fermentation occurred spontaneously through natural yeast in a large open-top fermenter. No addition of any kind was made during the vinification of this wine, no sulphur, no yeast, no additives of any type, exposing this wine to its most natural of states, to face the world unembellished, exposed and magnificent. This purest, natural and most naked state allowing all the nuances coming from the vineyard to be completely visible, nothing hidden, nothing added.
The barrels were carefully chosen so that the wine could be matured for a year without the addition of any sulphur. Mostly older barrels (3rd and 4th fill) were selected so that the delicate and intricate nature of the wine would not be obscured by any oaky notes. Malolactic fermentation took place in the barrel and the wine was never racked off its gross lees, which helped to maintain a reductive environment in the barrel, allowing the wine to mature at its own leisurely pace. After assembling the barrels into the final blend, the wine was left to settle for two weeks before bottling, with no fining, filtration, or sulphur addition at all.