Radford Dale, Freedom Pinot Noir 750ml 2017South Africa, Elgin
They specialise in the mountainous viticultural sub-regions of the Helderberg area in Stellenbosch, Elgin, and the Perderberg area in the Swartland. This is a fancy way of saying that they work with grapes from all of these areas – the right grapes for the right wines (rather than growing all the fruit on their property).
'Best of the top 3 Elgin pinots, all 10 months in oak, this 10% new, rest only old barrels. Poised 2017’s floral/violet bouquet leads to tangy black berry fruit, fresh acidity & fine-grained tannins, some smoked meat nuances, too. All the components harmonious.' – Platters Guide 2019, 93/100
'This Pinot Noir is characterised by its finesse and poise rather than power or richness. It owes its mineral elegance to the soils it grows in and its aromatic berry generosity and depth of flavor to the wonderful climate of Elgin. The 2016 marks the 10th vintage of Freedom and as the vineyards continue to mature, so we continue to see more depth and texture with each passing vintage. Also, continued experimentation in the handling of the fruit and better understanding of the terroir and the vineyards have together allowed us to craft a wine that shows the elegance of the variety in a unique style. Fresh and perfumed berry fruits mingle with earthy tones in a complex and compelling nose that urges deeper reflection. The palate shows restraint through the satin texture and perfumed, light berry tones. Refined tannins and fruit concentration round out the mid palate before a clean mineral lift towards the long, tapering finish.' – Wine Maker
The single vineyard that produces this Pinot Noir is planted to the Dijon clones 115 and 777 and has now reached more than a decade of producing some of the finest grapes of the region. Elgin is one of the naturally coolest vineyard locations in South Africa. Its altitude (300m – 400m above sea level is considerably higher than the 150-250m of Stellenbosch) benefits the location through naturally lower temperatures and higher rainfall. Here we find a greater degree of cloud cover because of the specific topography of the region that results not only in lower daytime temperatures during summer, but also a more gentle spectrum of sunlight to ripen developing bunches.
Also, veraison tends to occur much later in Elgin and only once the hottest summer spells are past. Elgin is an area rich in geological diversity and these vineyards benefit from the finest examples of Table Mountain Sandstone and Cartref soil types, which impart an elegant minerality to the wine. The 2017 vintage was marked by cooler nights in the lead up to harvest time. This helped bring excellent phenolic ripeness and fresh acidity to the wine.
Following a pre-selection process in the vineyards, the grapes are picked by hand at dawn into 15kg lug-boxes. They are then transported to our winery on the Helderberg Mountain in Stellenbosch. Hand sorting is employed to ensure only the best grapes are used. In 2017 we used partial carbonic maceration during the fermentation in open wooden fermenters, resulting in a wonderfully perfumed fruit expression. The pomace and skins were then pressed by hand in a small basket press and the press juice matured separately. The maturation of the wine, on the lees, lasted for almost 11 months before we assembled the barrels and then bottled without fining or filtration.
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AG: Antonio Galloni of Vinous.com | AM: Allen Meadows of Burghound.com | CE: Christian Eedes of Winemag.co.za | DEC: Decanter | GS: Greg Sherwood MW | JR: JancisRobinson.com | NM: Neal Martin of Vinous.com OM: Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show | PG: Platter's Guide | ST: Stephen Tanzer of Vinous.com | TA: Tim Atkin MW | VIN: Vinous.com | WA: Wine Advocate | WE: Wine Enthusiast | WM: Winemag.co.za Report | WS: Wine Spectator