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Radford Dale Thirst Gamay Noir 2014

Won't you take me to funky town?
Won’t you take me to funky town?

With winemakers inclined to make “pink” wine from every grape variety imaginable, why so little Gamay Noir – the variety used to make the renowned light-bodied reds of Beaujolais – planted in South Africa?  There were  a mere 13.93ha of it under cultivation at the end of 2013 and The Winery of Good Hope got their hands on some of it to make Radford Dale Thirst 2014 (given the non-specific W.O. classification of Coastal Region to avoid other producers getting in on the act!).

Of note is that the wine was made using 1005 carbonic maceration. Slightly cloudy in appearance, the nose shows strawberry and spice. It’s wonderfully fresh on the palate with a little tannic grip on the finish. No great complexity but great fun to drink. Wine Cellar price: R115 a bottle.

Score: 85/100.

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  1. Hi Elias, yes you certainly can try fun wines at under R100 and there are always bargains too for stocks being closed-out etc, so if R100 is a deal-breaker, you’ll miss our Gamay for sure, while not lacking in choice it’s true. Working sustainably in wine (both financially and ecologically) isn’t cheap. The very low yields we work with and the associated costs result in a low return for us and in fact we’ve priced this Gamay at a lower margin than we should, as we want it to be accessible and not elitist. We make exactly R25.63 per bottle gross profit, before deducting finance costs and alike. This wine should in my view be experienced by consumers interested in naturally-produced wines, with little or no intervention, low sulphur (under 50 parts -we’re allowed 165), low alcohol (it’s 11.3), no new oak etc. It’s a difficult wine to make and I don’t know of any like it in SA. I’d love to taste (read drink) some if you know of any…? We did seem to have hit a chord with certain consumers as we sold-out within a month of release from the cellar. The 2015 is looking great in barrel (old neutral barrels, none new) and will be a nice step-up from our first attempt, the 2014. It’s a refreshing wine for drinking and for easy enjoyment. Thus the name. But it’s not a trivial cheapie. We only made 311 cases in 2014 and though we’ll have slightly more with the 2015, it’ll remain a rarity, of a varietal also among the rarest in SA. Alex

  2. Really appreciate your feedback Alex, thank you. It gives me a better sense of where this wine comes from and what goes into making it.


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