From Grape to Glass
Here are some news from de Trafford; new vineyards, new releases and more expectations...De Trafford winery likes to think each wine they produce is within the top half dozen or so wines of its category produced in South Africa. This was more or less confirmed in the latest Wine magazine article “Best of the Best”, where their Chenin Blanc, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz and Straw Wine were rated as being in the top drawer.
Here are the news from De Trafford Winery.
MALAGAS OR MALGAS?
It is remarkable to see a young vine with bright green apparently fragile leaves emerging from a bed of stones. “Life from Stone” as Abrie Bruwer describes his brilliant Springfield Sauvignon Blanc. Well, we’ve also got crazy about stones and embarked on a project near Malgas (or Malagas) with three equally crazy friends (supposedly strategic partners!). The farm, is a plateau of stones (mostly pudding stones on a bed or shale) above the Breede River, 25 km from the sea by boat and 15 km by crow. As yet no other vineyards in a 40 km radius and great vineyard potential.
The little town (one shop and a hotel) of Malagas cannot decide how to spell it’s name. The original name is Malagas and most of the locals insist on it, but most maps and road signs refer to Malgas. The name was unofficially changed a long time ago when much of the post went to Malaga in Spain instead of Malagas!
Anyway we bought this property earlier this year and have been hectically trying to transform this run down ostrich and grain farm into a world class vineyard. We planted our first 5 ha in August and it is truly amazing to see them growing in the 10% soil that lurks between the 90% stone and rock. We will keep you updated on this exciting new project.
Chenin Blanc Stellenbosch 2004
The new owners of Keermont vineyard, Mark and Monica Wraith, reluctantly at first, agreed to upgrade their old Chenin vineyard and have now enthusiastically embarked on this to the extent that it is now called “The Royal and Ancient”. This means we’ve had a temporary reduction in quantity, but signs of the improvements are starting to emerge with this vintage. Rich, full and delicious.
The label this year was created from part of a painting titled “African Sun” by our son, Nicholas, age 7.
Pinot Noir 2003
2003 was a truly great vintage and it really shows in the Pinot Noir – not that the wine is showy though. It has a tight, tannic structure with a core of intense fruit and just a touch of new oak. This will be a complex glass of wine that should be enjoyed over several years.
Blueprint Shiraz 2003
This is an exciting new addition to our range. Most of the grapes from our neighbour’s “Keermont” vineyard, which produced a Wine 4 star wine in its first vintage – 2001. (No 2002) The balance came from Pru Crawley’s “heap of stones” vineyard a bit further down the Blaauwklip valley. A little more forthcoming with obvious, opulent fruit and less density than our regular Shiraz.
Roobernet / Cabernet Sauvignon 2001
Roobernet is a relatively new South African crossing of Pontac and Cabernet Sauvignon. Pontac used to be extensively planted in the Cape and is thought to originate from Bordeaux. It fell out of favour probably due to its low yields and the quality of the plant material was allowed to degenerate. The crossing was an attempt to revive the variety, but the yields remain low and the wines are rather tannic on their own. We have a few rows in our “Mont Fleur” vineyard. Just enough to produce two barrels, which were blended with one of the richest barrels of Cabernet Sauvignon from the same vineyard to fill out the tannic frame. This is a one off wine that was initially earmarked for the Cape Winemakers Guild Auction, but was considered a little too unusual for the benchmark Auction.
Straw Wine 2003
We were hoping we could produce more in the perfect weather conditions of 2003, but we simply ran out of grapes. Probably is as good, if not better, than the highly acclaimed 2001.
David, Rita and the de Trafford team.