Back to some of the 70’s and early 80’s winters! Although only a little above average rainfall, the temperatures were well below recent averages. However, more importantly the cold and wet came early – well before the important month of May – and also dragged on well into spring. The upshot of this, one of the best bud-breaks ever. The vineyards are looking truly beautiful – make a plan to get to the winelands now!

After a week of glorious sunshine, we’ve just had 100mm rain in a 24hr period and a sprinkling of snow on the mountains behind the farm. A bit unusual for this time of the year and hopefully the vines enjoy the extra water without growing too fast! We recently replanted our old Pinot Noir and Roobernet vineyard behind our house with Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. After a 2 ½ year fallow period it’s nice to see the rejuvenation after the sadness of pulling out a block I was fond of.

We had a very successful Auction a few weeks ago with our Perspective 2009 selling for an average R411 a btl. incl. VAT and our Syrah 2009 for a little less. Matured for 3 years in a single new oak barrel, it needs several hours decanting to shrug off its new oak cloak to reveal itself. We have an old 700L barrel of Syrah from a pure hard shale / slate section of our Sijnn vineyard, 2011, earmarked for the 2012 Auction. A completely different, although equally exciting, expression of Syrah we hope!

Celebrating 30 years of the Cape Winemakers Guild and beautifully written by Wendy Toerien. Check out our introduction, but if you’re interested in “Durban Curry” and “Slow Roasted Pork Belly”, be sure to buy this awesome cook book from leading bookstores or from the winery. R395.00 incl. VAT.

We’ve been selling our wines in Japan for over 12 years – a difficult and sophisticated market, but rewarding too. Our distributors there, Mottox, invited us, along with their other South African producers, to their annual tasting in both Osaka and Tokyo. It was an incredibly professionally run show with over 800 trade guests at each. I also took time to visit some existing customers in some high end restaurants too – Tokyo now has more Michelin star restaurants than any other city in the world.
On the way there I managed to fit in a two day visit to Singapore, where we’ve been extremely well represented by Taste of Tradition for a similar length of time. They are making quite an effort with their recently expanded South African portfolio. Singapore has been growing spectacularly with some amazing buildings from an Architectural point of view and it was a pity my time was so short. Please check out our blog for more.

Experiencing the last great land migration in the world is something everyone should try and do at least once in their lifetime. Rita and I were privileged to be part of this and look forward to a repeat performance of iconic wine and wildlife next year. For more information check out our blog, as well as Daryl and Sharna Balfour’s website.

PLAN B 2011
What many of our private buyers have been waiting for! There’s usually a bit of a long story to Plan B & 2011 is no exception. Along with natural winemaking come the odd hiccups. Some of our best barrels of Cabernet Sauvignon struggled to ferment the last few grams of sugar and the volatile acidity got up a bit high. We called in a big nasty machine (French of course) to reduce the VA and returned the wine to barrel with a degree of trepidation, but the wine turned out surprisingly good. Still, I didn’t feel comfortable adding it to our Cabernet Sauvignon and decided to add it to the Plan B pot. This is the core of Plan B 2011, although some Merlot from a young block at neighbouring Keermont is slightly more by volume. A few barrels of Shiraz not quite up to standard, as well as a barrel of Petit Verdot without a home, make up the balance of the blend. This is a little more serious than usual and will age well over a long time – so if you have space stock up. 2012 is looking short of Plan B material and at this stage unlikely we’ll have much, if any. R750.00 per case 12. Orders close end November, unless sold out earlier. The wine will only be ready for delivery end November.

Big, bold typical Stellenbosch Helderberg Cabernet from a warm vintage. Huge structure for long ageing potential similar to 2000, which is drinking extremely well now.

Massive dense fruit and alcohol. Atypical Blueprint Syrah – not for the faint hearted! We suggest drinking this early, although it will keep a long time.

SYRAH 393 2010
Our Single vineyard Syrah from the steep terraced slopes 393m above sea level always produces some of our best wine and 2010 is no exception. Great structure giving the wine some restraint for the rich vintage. Needs 4 or 5 years maturation and some generous decanting to get its full potential.

ELEVATION 393 2008
2008 in general suffers from being sandwiched between the excellent, elegant and well structured 2007 and the much vaunted 2009. It may not have the same pedigree, but lately each time I taste these 3 vintages of all our red wines, the 2008 is showing the best. It is less structured, slightly lighter and a bit more fruit forward. The Elevation 393 is no exception, showing strong, attractive Cabernet Sauvignon character, although the blend is similar to last year: CS 43%; MO 32%; SH 20% & CF 5%. It will probably rival 2007 and 2009 for the next 5 years, before the structure of 2007 and 2009 opens to yield greater complexity. We expect 2008 to be drinking best from 2013 to 2022. The wine will only be ready for delivery end November.

We acquired some Bordeaux wines en–primeur through the Wine Cellar from the exceptional 2009 vintage. I chose wines from 6 of the different communes at similar price points (around R350 – R450 / btl), with the idea to see how they differ according to their much vaunted terroir. Of course, we’ll slip in a few De Trafford 2009s to see if you can spot the delicious sunshine fruit of the Cape! 6.00pm Friday 16 November – will try and finish by 7.30pm. Limited to 18 people @ R200 per person. Includes bread and pate’ to snack on.

We try and do a vertical tasting on our wines from time to time to see how they are ageing and updating our tasting notes. It seems a pity opening all these wines and not being able to share it with anyone so we’ve decided to invite you to participate. Come in anytime between 10.00am and 4.00pm on the following days to enjoy the following:
(Please note this is a one bottle tasting and we may run out after lunchtime. No charge.)
2 November Merlot 2005 to 1996
16 November Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 to 1996
23 November Blueprint Syrah 2008 to 2003
30 November Syrah 393 / Shiraz 2006 to 2000
7 December Elevation 393 2005 to 2000
14 December Chenin Blanc 2008 to 2000
This will be a self help tasting, but one of us will be around to assist. Our latest releases will naturally be available to taste at the same time.

Don’t miss us at Caroline’s excellent event in Cape Town on 31 October. We’re showing Sijnn White 2011 WO Malgas – a barrel fermented blend of Chenin Blanc and Viognier. More information and tickets available here.

We’ll be releasing the De Trafford Chenin Blanc 2012, as well as our latest Sijnn wines in January next year.
Look forward to seeing you at De Trafford.

Kind Regards
David, Rita, Xenia and the De Trafford team.

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