De Trafford Vin De Paille 2004

 The first of its kind in South Africa.
It seems like just yesterday we encouraged the Wine and Spirit Board to form this entirely new category “Wine from naturally dried grapes” but this is now our eighth year of production.

VINEYARD BLOCKS

1 block ( Keerweder ) 32 year old vines on a 3 wire trellis on neighbouring cool high altitude SW slope. Deep red Hutton soil with good moisture retention. Unirrigated. Yield 3 tons / hectare.

2 blocks ( Post House ) 18 & 20 year old vines on a 6 wire trellis with moveable foliage wires. Lower slopes of the Helderberg, 8 km from the cooling influence of the sea. Gravelly Hutton / Estcourt soils. Yield 6 tons / hectare. Lightly irrigated to relieve drought stress.

VINTAGE CONDITIONS

The warm, dry conditions produced a small crop of excellent quality. These conditions continued during the drying process, but due to the late season with shorter days and pending autumn rains the grapes didn’t attain the usual incredible sweetness and concentration.

Harvest date: 11 / 2 / 2004 – 19 / 3 / 2004 @ 20 – 23.5° B

PRODUCTION

The grapes were picked at optimum ripeness and laid out on drying racks in 70% shade for 3 weeks. This allows the grapes to concentrate sugars, acids and flavours, before reharvesting in the cool mornings.
Fermented with natural yeasts and matured for 18 months using mostly new 225 l oak barrels – 60% French and 40% American – for the first year and older for the second year.
Racked while in barrel to remove heavy sediment and lightly bentonite fined before bottling unfiltered.

Bottling date: 9 / 11 / 05. Production: 560 cases (6 x 375 ml)

TASTING NOTES

Attractive yellow gold colour. Complex marzipan, burnt honey and dusty dried apricot nose.
The palate is sweet and concentrated (though less than usual) with nice acidity and oak tannins to compliment and deliver a long, lingering finish.
This rather more food friendly than the last few vintages. Delicious with biscotti, various cheeses and nuts. Compliments slightly tart fruit desserts and good patés beautifully. The Wine Magazine published a lovely recipe to go with this wine, you can read it here.

ANALYSIS

Alc.16.3   Sug. 111   TA 7.5   pH 3.9   VA 1.39   SO2 18 & 150

These are naturally made, living wines which may deposit a sediment and / or tartrate crystals – a healthy sign of a handcrafted wine.

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