October 5th, 2010

Sarah Goes To DeTrafford Winery (Stellenbosch, South Africa).

De Trafford Estate is a small family winery that takes a hands-off approach to making wine. They do not inoculate, nor do they filter. Their facility is set up to use the forces of gravity during all stages of the process. David de Trafford, owner and head wine maker, took us through a line-up of all his wines.

2009 deTrafford Chenin Blanc: This is a bone dry chenin that is barrel fermented, aged in only 20% new oak, and does not go through malolactic fermentation. The result? A wine with a rich yogurt quality that is toasty on the palate with flavors of yellow apple, pear, orange blossom, and crisp acidity.

2007 deTrafford Merlot: A plush, rich, fleshy style that tastes of plum, red currants, green tomato. Although the wine spends nearly two years (23 months) in barrel the oak is only 55% new, thus imparting very little in terms of flavor.

2008 deTrafford Cabernet: This is a lithe style of Cabernet with lean tannins giving structure to the fruit, and acidity. It had classic flavors of black currant, plum, pencil, violet and slight greenness. The wine is aged in 40% new oak.

2008 deTrafford Blueprint Shiraz: Even after 22 months in barrel this wine maintains a fleshy texture that is spicy on the palate with flavors of cherry, figs, and black earth.

2008 deTrafford Shiraz: It is a bold style aged in fifty percent new barrels. The oak, according to Daniel de Trafford, is utilized as a vessel for storage not flavor. The ripe flavors of the grape are showcased in this wine (cherry, plum, black currant, raspberry).

2006 Elevation 393: A flagship wine of sorts. It is big, well structured, and needs time. The blend of Cab Sauv (50%), Merlot (37%), and Shiraz (13%) showed off some of its potential with flavors of red currants, raspberry, black cherry, plum, and pencil.

2008 Straw Wine: The grapes are laid out to dry on netted tables for three weeks. The resulting raisins produce a heavenly dessert wine with heady aromas of apricot, lychee, nectarine, stones, basil, toffee, almonds, pear tatin, baked apple, and cinnamon.

2007 Sijnn: This is a relatively new second label project for the De Trafford team. It is a blend of bush vine Touriga Nacional, Trincadero, Shiraz, and Mouvedre. Only 25% of the oak used for aging is new and the barrels are 700L. This is a juicy wine with lower tannins and lots of flavor (earth, mineral, cedar, mint, grilled meat, licorice, cherry, Turkish delight).