De Trafford Vin De Paille 2005

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 ninth year of production.

VINEYARD BLOCKS

1 block ( Keerweder ) 33 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 ) 19 & 21 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 5 tons / hectare. Lightly irrigated to relieve drought stress.

1 block ( Waterkloof ) 22 year old bush vines on nearby north facing deep red Hutton soil with good moisture retention. Unirrigated. Yield 8 tons/ha.

VINTAGE CONDITIONS

A trouble free growing season. The rain at the start of the harvest delayed putting out grapes on the rack, but weather during the drying period was excellent. This meant we could get intense concentrated, high quality juice with less wastage and thus a higher production than usual.
Harvest date: 1 / 2 / 2005 – 17 / 3 / 2005 @ 20 – 23.5° B

Reharvested from racks: 22 / 2 / 2005 – 7 / 4 / 2005 @ 39 – 46° 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 19 months using mostly new 225 l oak barrels – 60% French and 40% America. Racked while in barrel to remove heavy sediment and lightly bentonite fined. The VA had to be reduced by about 20% a few months prior to bottling.

Bottling date: 21 / 11 / 05. Production: 870 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 with nice acidity and oak tannins to compliment and deliver a long, lingering finish. Delicious with biscotti, various cheeses and nuts. Compliments slightly tart fruit desserts and good patés beautifully (although this usually overwhelms the next course).

ANALYSIS

Alc. 12.5   Sug. 179.8   TA 6.3   pH 3.87   VA 1.53   SO2 30free & 215total

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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