Wine of the Week: Radford-Dale Black Rock 2009

The damages: R110 – best value Swartland red blend, the sizzle to go with the steak

Available from: [email protected]

The back label: Winemaker Alex Dale, who made this enigmatic wine with grapes grown on the Paardeberg, is the Black Rider in the Tom Waits album of the same name.  Well at least it felt like that last night while eating rare bone-on ribeye in Giorgio Nava’s Carne palace of meat in Keerom Street with a Finnish baby banker called Markus.  With those nautically grey steel beams and rivets, the place looks like a German U-boat circa 1942.  Several of the patrons could have passed for William S Burroughs.

The Black Rock white sister Chenin blend has been hibernated.  “Too hard to sell.  Our problem was we priced it too cheap” leaving this exuberant mélange of Syrah, Grenache, Carignan, Mourvèdre and Viognier left to fly the black flag.

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Alex Dale last night

Berry sweetness rather than sucrosity is the secret of success and provides a totally different interpretation of a rustic Rhône blend to those other slippery Swartland numbers retailing at five times the price.  As Tom puts it:

Come on a long with the Black Rider
We’ll have a gay old time
Lay down in the web of the black spider
I’ll drink your blood like wine

So come on in
It ain’t no sin
Take off your skin
And dance around your bones