De Trafford Travels & New Releases


This week we started our pruning with the top of our Mont Fleur Tip-Top Syrah block. The top gets the sun first (at around 10:30 at the moment) and we enjoy working in the sun this time of the year!

It is important to wait until after the winter solstice (21 June) before starting to prune. Sap flow is from the canes to the roots in Autumn, before the winter solstice, and the reverse thereafter. Pruning too early increases fungal disease as well as reducing reserves from cutting off sap flow from the canes to the roots. Ideally, according to biodynamic principles, it is best to prune on a waning moon, which was the case this week, but not always practical given the time constraints. The important thing is to only prune on dry days to again reduce fungal disease on the fresh pruning wounds. Well, who wants to prune in the rain anyway?


barnedRita & I had a great two week trip to North America in May. Our agents in Ontario – Sean & Terry of Gradwell Wine Agency did a great job in hosting us in Toronto and setting up some wonderful tastings and wine dinners. We stayed at the National Club in downtown Toronto where we had two excellent wine dinners. Unfortunately our straw wine did not arrive in time and having to find an able substitute Terry dug deep in his cellar and supplied the gap with an Yquem 1988 which was about perfect! (Interestingly enough we happy to have a bottle of the dry Yquem Y 2002 in New York, which was exceptional) We also took time to visit the Ontario wine region, famous for Ice Wine, and the nearby Niagara falls.

New York was New York, a city both Rita and I love. Our Big 5 cities: New York, London, Paris, Hong Kong & of course, Cape Town.

Philadelphia is home to our US importers Bryce & Sam McNamee of Boutique Wine Collection. It was great to spend some time with them and their young son Cole. Apart from all the great food & wine (our favourite white wine has officially become Rolly Gassman’s Appelweg Riesling – every time we have this, its absolutely delicious) the highlight of our stay was visiting the Barnes Collection. An incredible private art collection, including over 130 paintings by Monet for example and exhibited in a unique, innovative, if rather eclectic manner, in a beautiful new gallery.

“The most interesting thing in the world to me has always been a free spontaneous expression of human nature whether in a thought, a symphony, a poem, a painting, a statue, or an act of everyday life that shows the qualities of mind, heart & soul which in my opinion, are the indispensables in any work of art.”Dr Albert Barnes 1925

I don’t believe the production of wine is an art, but rather a craft. Never the less, we hope that every bottle of De Trafford wines comes with ample thought, heart and soul!

nam1We recently got back from our annual family holiday. The first week in the Northern Cape we were joined by Carl Shultz and family (winemaker at Hartenberg Estate for the past 20 years – producing a string of great Syrahs amongst other delicious wines). We visited Noup, Klein Pella and Riemvasmaak before the Schulzes had to get back to Stellenbosch and we went on to Luderitz in Namibia. We had an terrific time and have written a short blog about it here.

In an overall very positive report on Cape Wines in the latest edition of the Wine Spectator, De Trafford and Sijnn wines had five wines in the top 20.

De Trafford Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 and De Trafford Syrah 393 2011 both scored 94 points, while Sijnn 2010, De Trafford Elevation 393 2008 and De Trafford Straw Wine 2009 all received 93 points.

After a month of being sold out from the farm, we are so happy to announce the release of our new vintages. We hope that you can make it out to the farm for a tasting soon.

Chenin Blanc 2013
The 2013 vintage was badly affected by strong winds, reducing the crop significantly, however, the Chenin Blanc was less affected due to the excellent wind resistance of the variety and our vineyards being mostly lower lying slopes relative to our reds. This vintage shows a little more freshness and elegance rather than richness. Loaded with attractive complex flavours and a long finish. Should develop well. 2003, 2007 & 2008 spring to mind as similar vintages and all drinking well now, so we envisage a long fruitful life for the 2013. The Chenin Blanc 2013 label was painted by Rita Trafford, entitled ‘Graciously’. The original painting is available for sale and can be viewed in the tasting room.

Cabernet Sauvignon 2011
This vintage was a small harvest of great concentration and intensity. A wine to enjoy over the next two decades.

Blueprint Syrah 2012
2012 is a vintage we are very excited about. It might not have the intensity of the preceding three vintages, but certainly has the complexity in a slightly lighter and more elegant format. We feel the Blueprint is delicious when young although proven to last comfortably for 10 years.

Syrah 393 2012
Produced only from our single Mont Fleur vineyard approximately 393m above sea level. This vineyard has produced stellar quality fruit since its first vintage in 1998 with 2012 being no exception. Typical of 2012, the wine is a little less intense, with great elegance and complexity. A collectors wine for special occasions over several years.

Elevation 393 2010
We have been sold out of the 2008 for some time now and many of our customers have been asking about our next 2009 vintage Elevation. We feel the 2010 is drinking better at this stage, so we are releasing it ahead of the 2009. The aim with our Elevation blend is to express the essential character of each vintage, almost to the extent of exaggerating the differences. The 2010 vintage was a bit of a departure from our normal Cabernet Sauvignon dominant blend, with almost equal parts Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot & Syrah. This best expresses the big, rich character of the hot 2010 harvest. Drinking beautifully now with many years ahead – the perfect winter red.

Straw Wine 2011
Back with a bang! An incredible vintage of Straw Wine with a sugar of 294g/l – this will give the finest dinner the sweetest finish!

We hope that you get to enjoy at least some of these wines soon. As always, we welcome your feedback so please send us an email with your comments.

David and Rita Trafford & team

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