Radford Dale: Top South African Chardonnay in Tim Atkin MW – Lismore Tasting

Posted on 27 March 2019 under PIWOSA News

On Saturday, Alex Dale of Radford Dale, took part in the fifth Lismore tasting held in Greyton by Tim Atkin and Lismore Wine Estate Designed to pit the best wines of South Africa against their peers from the rest of the world this time it was Chardonnay. 35 wines were tasted in total, 13 of which were from outside the Cape.
Our Radford Dale Chardonnay 2017 came in 1st of the South African wines and 4th overall, in the group tasting! Interestingly, 4 of the 5 top SA Chardonnays were from Stellenbosch.
Tim Atkin MW and the line up
The judges other than Tim Atkin MW and Alex were Christian Eedes (winemag.co.za); Nadia Barnard (Waterkloof); Andries Berger (Paul Cluver); Lizelle Gerber (Boschendal); Kevin Grant (Ataraxia); Richard Kershaw (Kershaw); Jean-Claude Martin (Creation); Andrea and Chris Mullineux (Mullineux and Leeu Passant); Samantha O’Keefe (Lismore); Gordon and Nadia Newton Johnson (Newton Johnson) and Craig Wessels (Restless River).
The Top 4 wines L-R: 2017 Errázuriz Las Pizarras, Aconcagua Costa (Chile)
2017 Black Book Clayhill Vineyard, Essex (England)
2014 Domaine Marc Morey Puligny-Montrachet Premier Cru Les Referts (France)
2017 Radford Dale Chardonnay, Stellenbosch (South Africa)
GROUP TASTING TOP 10
1. 2017 Errázuriz Las Pizarras, Aconcagua Costa (Chile)
2. 2017 Black Book Clayhill Vineyard, Essex (England)
3. 2014 Domaine Marc Morey Puligny-Montrachet Premier Cru Les Referts (Burgundy)
4. 2017 Radford Dale Chardonnay, Stellenbosch (South Africa)
5. 2017 Kershaw Clonal Selection, Elgin (South Africa)
6. 2017 Circumstance, Stellenbosch (South Africa)
7. 2016 Leeu Passant, Stellenbosch (South Africa)
8. 2015 Domaine Hubert Lamy St Aubin Premier Cru Les Frionnes (France)
9. 2017 Meerlust, Stellenbosch (South Africa)
10. 2015 Leeuwin Art Series, Margaret River (Australia)
Hard at work
ALEX’S TOP 10
1. 2017 Black Book Clayhill Vineyard Chardonnay, Essex, England
2. 2014 Domaine Marc Morey Puligny-Montrachet Les Referts 1er Cru, Burgundy
3. 2015 Domaine Hubert Lamy St. Aubin Les Frionnes 1er Cru, Burgundy
4. 2015 Sandi, Santa Rita Hills Chardonnay, California
5. 2017 Radford Dale Chardonnay, Stellenbosch
6. 2016 Crystallum Clay Shales Chardonnay, Hemel en Aarde
7. 2016 Boschendal Appellation Series Chardonnay, Elgin
8. 2017 Kershaw Clonal Selection Chardonnay, Elgin
9. 2015 Leeu Passant Chardonnay, Stellenbosch
10. 2015 Sol de Sol Chardonnay, Malleco Valley, Chile
As always, it was a very intriguing tasting, with many surprises – particularly the Black Book English Chardonnay which was outstanding, but more importantly, how challenging it was to tell the wines apart from around the world. The last time Chardonnay was the focus of the Lismore annual tasting was 2016 and there has been a marked difference in the category in the intervening years, notably in how the wines have become fresher and less oak dominated, which has always been our preferred style at Radford Dale and which is reflected in the panel rating it as the top SA Chardonnay of the tasting.

Click here to read Tim’s full article and here for Christian Eedes.