Harvest is upon us!
This season has been particularly interesting and really kept us on our toes, especially in Stellenbosch. We had the highest recorded rainfall ever for August / September combined, getting the growing season off tanked up with water. We had to spray, sucker, tip and weed more than ever to keep the growth in shape, but finally things have been looking really good the last few weeks ahead of harvest.
At Malgas the additional rain was pretty welcome and growth much more than usual, but still well below average and close to ideal with a slightly higher than usual crop load. We’ve harvested most of the Chenin Blanc and Viognier, which budded early and made a start with a bit of Syrah and Trincadeira. It’s all looking very promising. It looks like we’ll get our biggest crop yet, though probably not more than 4 tons/ha (well below the industry average of 15 tons/ha).
Fabulous Spectator Scores
Like a blessing before the harvest, we received great news on some excellent scores from The Wine Spectator a few days ago.
Elevation 393 Stellenbosch 2008 93 points – Dark earth, roasted plum, singed cedar and coffee notes form the frame of this old-school Cabernet, with bay, tobacco, mulled currant, mint and steeped blackberry fruit at the core. The long finish lets the savory notes play out beautifully. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Shiraz and Cabernet Franc. Drink now through 2018. – J.M.
Sijnn Malgas 2010 93 points – This has good range, with blueberry, loganberry and blackberry fruit pumping along, lined with texture-enhancing charcoal and roasted alder notes. Shows lots of briary grip through the finish, revealing a buried iron accent. Let this settle in the cellar for a bit. Shiraz, Mourvèdre, Touriga Nacional and Trincadeira. Best from 2015 through 2020.—J.M.
Cabernet Sauvignon Stellenbosch 2009 94 points – Loam, espresso and bittersweet cocoa notes lead the way here, with a dense core of steeped black currant and warm plum sauce flavors. The long, charcoal-lined finish has a plush feel, ending with a savory echo. Drink now through 2020. From South Africa.—J.M.
Syrah Stellenbosch 393 2010 94 points – Features a dark profile, with blackberry, steeped black currant and melted black licorice notes rolled together. Fruit cake, plum skin and bramble accents add grip on the finish. Though still rather backward, this is showing more guts than polish now, featuring loads of charcoal-infused structure. Should age wonderfully. Best from 2016 through 2022. From South Africa.—J.M.
The Wine Spectator comprehensively taste BLIND any wine available in the U.S. and submitted free of charge. Wines are tasted every day by full time professionals and seldom more than 20 a day. (Their stock awaiting tasting is larger than our production!) The great classics like Ch. Latour and Ch. Yquem and most of the Grand Crus of Burgundy are tasted and rated on a regular basis. It is true that big wines with great intensity and complexity can do very well, but there are many fine, subtle and complex wines that do just as well too. Parker scores are probably the only scores to have a greater global influence, but the tastings are not blind.
All the De Trafford wines rated above are sold out from the farm but contact us and we may be able to find a retailer near you who still has some. We are planning to release the Sijnn 2010 in April but we do have a few half bottles available.
Malgas Winery Construction
It’s been good to get back to the drawing board and figure out a way of building a beautiful winery that works well on the tightest budget. We’ve had many delays, but hoping to be complete just in time for the end of harvest! Then the big move – moving all the wine, barrels and equipment from Keermont, Stellenbosch to Malgas – what a fun way to end the harvest!
Malgas Winery Opening Celebration
We’re really excited to have a proper footprint in the puddingstones of Malgas with the opening of our winery there and would like to invite you to celebrate with us.
We have organised a series of events to take place over the 23-27th April:
Wed. 23 April 6.00pm: Tasting and Dinner with Peter Goffe-Wood – R450 p.p.
Thurs. 24 April 6.00pm: Tasting and Dinner with Peter Goffe-Wood – R450 p.p.
Fri. 25 April 6.00pm: Tasting and Dinner with Rita Trafford – R400 p.p.
Sat. 26 April 9.00am – 3.00pm: Tasting and Sales (Open to the public for the first time). We’ll be open every Saturday at this time in future.
Sun. 27 April 9.00am – 3.00pm: Tasting and Sales; Renosterveld Walk with Dr. Odette Curtis at scheduled times. Contact us for more details and reservations.
We hope you’ll be able to join us on our stony plateau above the Breede River for a relaxed celebration.
We can recommend contacting Lynn at the following website to arrange accommodation. Due to all the public holidays around that time and limited accommodation, we suggest you book early.
We’ve found that it has been quite a distraction to our focus on wine to have the self catering cottage and have decided to find permanent tenants. Should you be interested, please contact us to arrange a viewing.
This time of year we have several sold out wines, so we are treating visitors to the cellar to some older vintages to make up for it. New Releases can be expected in April / May 2014.
David Trafford and the De Trafford & Sijnn teams.