"Modern winemaking and traditional values combine to create some of the finest and rarest gems of the Cape of Good Hope"
At Hartford House we are all about relationships, and our wine list showcases this more so than ever before with Jackie Cameron's personal involvement from last year.
Hartford House has a long-standing relationship with Mia Martensson, sales manager at "The Winery of Good Hope" and one of only a few trained sommeliers in South Africa. Jackie Cameron, Zandile Mchunu (assistant chef at Hartford House) and Mia travelled to Shanghai together in 2010, representing South Africa at "The World Trade Expo" for the food and wine week. What a blast they all had and it's amazing how travel can make life long friends. Here's to "The Winery of Good Hope" flagship brand, Radford Dale...
Radford Dale Wines
In the Radford Dale range, modern winemaking and traditional values combine to create some of the finest and rarest gems of the Cape of Good Hope. Radford Dale wines, are grown, matured and blended on the The Winery of Good Hope property, one of the bigger wine farms in the region of Stellenbosch and also home to Land of Hope, Vinum Africa and the Winery of Good Hope labels.
The Radford Dale was founded in 1998, covering the sub regions of the Helderberg, Elgin and Swartland. They pride themselves in using traditional, natural viticulture and wine making methods at their cellar on the Helderberg Mountain.
Where it all began...
As seen so often at Hartford House, some of the most indepth conversations take place over a bottle of fine wine, and we're sure it wasn't that different for 'drinking buddies' Ben Radford and Alex Dale, who merged minds to play their part in the extensive growth in South African wines.
"Our conviction is that South African wines should reflect the individuality of our own Terroirs and not be driven by the globalistion and flavour standardisation of a points and medal mentality. The latter is making a mockery of individuality, while causing wines from countries all over the globe to taste more and more alike," says Alex Dale.
Alex was born into a family of wine merchants, importers and distributors in Great Britain. Escaping in his mid-teens to read French literature at Dijon University, he became positively overwhelmed whilst studying (or drinking, as might be more accurately remarked) by the culture and tradition of the great wines of Burgundy. Literature became history, and wines a way of life. Sealed 11 years later by a highly successful career in marketing wines for some of the most revered names in Burgundy (not least Domaine Jacques Prieur and the Drouhin family), Alex sought new horizons and a real challenge.
With his experience in numerous cellars in Burgundy, Alex was lured to South Africa by his friends during the late 1980's, and added a South Africa Harvest to his list. Over the next 6 years Alex visited South Africa on numerous occasions and discovered the potential and beauty of the Cape, bringing him to the conclusion that a new wine frontier had to emerge, once democracy was realized.
During his travels and various harvests through the Rhone Valley, Alex become friends with Edouard Labeye, who was making some fabulous and innovative wines. Remembering that the Rhone valley offers very similar climatic conditions to those we enjoy in the Cape, Alex approached Edouard in the late 1980's and asked him to join him in South Africa during his next harvest. Between Alex and Edouard the mix of the time tested traditional methods with the more progressive 'New World' approach and a decade later has set on South Africa and this hugely impacted on the production of the Radford Dale Wines, from the vineyard to the bottle.
It was with this motivation, dedication, and complete passion for wines that has resulted in Radford Dale wines.
"The philosophy driving Radford Dale is to produce reference South African wines with as little pretense and compromise imaginable. These wines are made to be faithfully site-driven, natural and balanced. Quality dictates everything that Radford Dale stands for."
Alex's efforts paid off when in 2008, the South African wine bible, The John Platter Guide, proclaimed the flagship Radford Dale Gravity, to be one of the only seven red wines in the country to achieve a 5 star status, labelling it "Superlative, a Cape Classic".
At Hartford we serve the following two Radford Dale wines:
Radford Dale Viognier 2009
Distinctly Viognier on the nose, with striking apricot, white petals and peaches, a full palate and a fresh finish. The flinty fresh and "leesy" characteristics mingle with dried fruit aromas and a lush texture, producing a lovely fresh wine, with a complex aromatic diversity.
Radford Dale Black Rock Red Blend 2009
A Shiraz lead blend with Carignan, Grenache, Mourvedre and Viognier. On the nose you find an intricate aroma of herbs, wild bush and spice. On the palate there is a wonderful array of flavours such as lavender, spices, and blueberries. There is a distinctive minerality and a flavour packed, complex finish.
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