Newsletter November 2013: Plan B, a Platter 5 star and other news

Newsletter Nov 2013 captionedWinter 2013 has been a long, cold and wet one in Stellenbosch but the vines have budded well and are growing beautifully. Flowering has just started in our highest section of Syrah & Cab Franc and the rest should follow shortly. A good start to the season, but we hope for less rain and no hectic wind or heat waves in the next few weeks. Flowering is a particularly sensitive time there.

Winter is always more moderate at Malgas, but we also had some nice rain. Budding of the Chenin Blanc was particularly early and very even, while the Syrah & Touriga Nacional was quite late and a bit uneven. We’re also holding thumbs over the next few weeks of flowering time.

Sijnn Syrah 2011 Platter 5 star
We are very excited about receiving our first Platter 5 star from our Malgas vineyard. The whole point of releasing our first single varietal Syrah and Touriga Nacional was to simplify things for customers and tasting panels. We have found that the combination of a whole new region and an unusual combination of varietals is just too much to absorb for most! So our decision to do a straight Syrah has been immediately vindicated with a Platter 5 star for our first vintage.

We strongly believe that our flagship blend – simply Sijnn – is a considerably better wine with greater depth, complexity, individuality and ageing ability. We have very limited quantities of our Sijnn Syrah 2011 left, but as always give preference to existing loyal customers. If you have not tried some and would like to, we advise you to order as soon as possible.

Sijnn CWG Syrah 2011
Last month was the prestigious CWG Auction which broke several records. We were delighted with getting an average price of around R450 per bottle. This is a real collectors wine made from a particular corner of the vineyard with extremely hard, schist soil and require several years to really show itself. The tasting notes are available here.

Christine Andrews joins Sijnn
Following Waldo’s departure to Australia, we decided to employ a sales & marketing person and teach them to make wine, rather than trying to get a winemaker to do sales & marketing! We’ve seemed to have swopped a good looking George dude with a great sense of humour and a laid back demeanour for a gorgeous Kiwi that brings a frenzy of energy to our little team.
Christine started a little over a month ago and has already been racing around, showing our Sijnn wines to customers around the Western Cape and Gauteng. Christine has a degree in accounting & Mandarin (!?) but is passionate about wine, having started her own wine club and blog (Western Cape Wineries) just over a year ago, and is really inspired by our Malgas vineyard and Sijnn wines. We can already see the difference she’s making and look forward to working together, getting these little-known wines out there…

Sijnn Winery at Malgas taking shape
We finally got to laying the foundations of our winery at Malgas. Designed by David Trafford with the working drawings done by friend John During of R & L Architects. The whole project was held up by a little patch of bulbous plants for a few months, which means we probably won’t be finished in time for the 2014 harvest. It seems we will have to vinify in Stellenbosch again and do the big move immediately after harvest. We’re keeping the Facebook page updated with photo’s of our progress, so be sure to follow us there.

De Trafford and Sijnn Wine & Wildebeest Safari 2013
In September we did our second Wine & Wildebeest Safari with Daryl & Sharna Balfour – renowned wildlife photographers and wine lovers. It was incredible once again and what an awesome group of customers and friends we had. As with most things in the natural world you never know what to expect and there’re no guarantees of seeing a famed river crossing. However, there is so much else to see. The incredible intensity of game and the open country provides spectacular viewing, but most of all the three exceptional guides, Darryl himself, Phil West (legend of East Africa) and Pierre Burton (Professor of the Bush) add enormously to the whole experience. Then of course the day is capped with delicious food and the fine wines of De Trafford & Sijnn – 60 different wines in the 8 days!
Bookings are open for 4-11 September 2014. For more information look at their website and contact Daryl and Sharna directly at We will not be doing a safari in 2015 but possibly again in 2016. Oh, and we did end up seeing a spectacular river crossing on our last day!

New Releases
Sijnn Low Profile 2012
Our ‘Plan B’ of Malgas, with label painting by Rita Trafford due to change every year. Following the highly successful 2011, which was mostly Touriga Nacional, this year the blend is based more on Syrah. The aim was to make a little lighter & fresher wine, but still with a lot of complexity that seems to come naturally from this Malgas vineyard. Available only in cases of 6.

Plan B 2012
We’ve had so many requests for the Plan B already that we decided to get our act together and will be moving our Plan B to the bottling tank this week to have the wine ready before Christmas. We’re going to make it available now and limit it to 2 x 12 per customer as we have very little this year. The blend is Merlot, Syrah & Cabernet Sauvignon.

Half Bottles
We’re puzzled at the lack of interest in 375ml bottles given consumer concern over drinking and driving. We currently have 3 wines in this format: Sijnn 2010; De Trafford Elevation 393 2008 and De Trafford Syrah 393 2010. Why not try a six-pack of 2 each?

Kind Regards
David and Rita Trafford & team.

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