De Trafford Vin de Paille 2009

The first of its kind in South Africa. 
This is now our thirteenth year of producing this treasured wine.

 VINEYARD BLOCKS

2 blocks ( Keerweder ) 37 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 / ha.

2 blocks ( Post House ) 23 & 25 year old vines on a 7 wire trellis with moveable foliage wires. Lower slopes of the Helderberg, 8 km from the cooling influence of the sea. Gravelly Hutton and Escourt soil. Yield 7 tons / ha. Lightly irrigated just after veraison.

1 block ( Bredell ) 25 year old bush vines.  Foothills of the Helderberg 4km from False Bay. Sandy, gravelly Escourt soil.   Unirrigated. Yield 6 tons / ha. 

VINTAGE CONDITIONS

 Typical cold, wet winter followed by an excellent growing season with above average rainfall, but cooler temperatures producing good, but not excessive growth. A particularly healthy year with very little disease pressure. Although the ripening period was warm to hot, there were very few heat spikes until late February, early March. The harvest was preceded by a month long fire and our first batch (about 1 ton) of Chenin Blanc was destroyed on the racks.

Harvest date:  11/2/2009 – 19/3/2009 @ 21.3 – 24.8° B

Reharvested from racks: 4/3/2009 –15/4/2009 @ 38 – 52° B 

 PRODUCTION

The grapes were picked at optimum ripeness and laid out on drying racks in 70% shade for about 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 23 months using 50% new 225L French oak barrels. Racked while in barrel to remove heavy sediment and lightly bentonite fined. We had to reduce VA due to bottles arriving late from Italy.

 Bottling date: 23/5/11.  Production: 570 cases (6 x 375 ml)

 TASTING NOTES

Attractive bright gold colour. Great intensity and sweetness, similar in style to 2006. Dried apricot and lemon skin, some flintiness, but mostly complex honey and treacle. The palate is intensely sweet yet not cloying, fresh and lively with an oxidative complexity and a long clean finish. This vintage is best as a sweet treat on its own after a meal. A rewarding challenge to match with desserts!

 ANALYSIS

Alc. 10.25     Sug.  212     TA  5.1    pH 3.99     VA  1.19   SO2 34free & 216total

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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