De Trafford, Merlot 2017
David Trafford, owner and winemaker, enjoyed a successful career as an architect before changing direction and pursuing his passion for winemaking. His wife, Rita, is a qualified chef and artist. Each of the De Trafford labels is designed by one of the dynamic pair.
Merlot is one of only two wines, along with Cabernet Sauvignon, De Trafford has released every year since its maiden vintage in 1992. Their wines are made to age beautifully, with the ‘92 Merlot drinking well for over twenty-five years.
This wine has been created from four different blocks of Merlot, with vines ranging between eleven and thirty-four years of age, producing immense flavour in the grapes. This vintage was exceptional, with small, concentrated berries and a wonderfully healthy vineyard.
Deep ruby in the glass, with plums, dark cherries and clove spice on the nose. They carry over to the palate with blackberries, leather and a herbaceous eucalyptus character.
Best now to 2035, decant for an hour and savour each drop.
1st block 23 year old vines on vertical trellis. Mix of clones on R110 & R99 rootstocks. ‘Mont Fleur’ vineyard – high altitude mountain slope. Soil deep red Hutton, decomposed granite.
Yield 3 tons/hect. (20hl/ha).
2nd block 14 year old vines on vertical trellis. Clone MO 343 on 101-14 rootstock. New addition to ‘Mont Fleur’ vineyard – similar soil.
Yield 3 tons/ha (20hl/ha)
3rd block 11 year old vines on vertical trellis. Clone MO348 on 101-14 rootstock. “Keermont” vineyard – high altitude mountain slope. Soil similar to Mont Fleur, heavier clay component.
Yield 4 ton/ha. (26hl/ha)
4th block 34 year old vines on vertical trellis. Various clones in a tiny block planted below the Mont Fleur Conference Venue. Alluvial soil. Yield 5 tons/ha (33hl/ha)
An exceptional vintage. Following the hot and dry 2016 season, berries were particularly small and the vineyards very healthy, with adequate, balanced growth. Ideal cooler weather during harvest time with cool nights and no substantial heatwaves. An elegant, promising vintage, similar to 2007.
Handpicking into 20 kg lugboxes. Destemming and gentle crushing directly into small 2 ton open top fermentation tanks. Spontaneous natural yeast fermentation @ max. 30°C with the cap of skins punched down manually 1-3 times a day for 10 days. Wine drained directly to barrels together with single pressing from traditional basket press.
Malolactic fermentation in the barrel. 35% new French oak. Time in barrel 19 months, which included several rackings to gradually clarify the wine and assist maturation.
The wine was bottled unfined and unfiltered by hand on the property.
Bottling date: 20/09/2018
Production: 358 x 12 x 750ml
Attractive deep red colour. Lovely spice, plums and other beguiling dark fruit on the nose. Hints of fynbos (herbal) notes and complimentary oak component. These flavours follow through on the big, but fine palate. Generous alcohol, complex fruit, firm fine tannins and acidity balance each other to give a plush mouthfeel and lingering aftertaste.
Best now to 2035. Ideal with baked pasta (such as cannelloni) and various light red meat dishes such as veal, lamb and pork.
Try it with baked pasta dishes like beef cannelloni in tomato sauce.