De Trafford Chenin Blanc 2008
Label painting by Rita Trafford titled “Bird study with Berries”.
2 blocks ( Keerweder ) 36 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 ) 22 & 24 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 6 tons / ha. Lightly irrigated just after veraison.
1 block ( Bredell ) 24 year old bush vines. Foothills of the Helderberg 4km from False Bay. Sandy, gravelly Escourt soil. Unirrigated. Yield 7 tons / ha.
Typical cold, wet winter followed by a normal growing season with enough rain and warm weather to produce good, balanced growth. As in 2007, the Chenin Blanc seemed to relish the knife – edge harvest conditions with small heatwaves alternating with wet, cold spells. Unlike 2007, we had quite a bit of botrytis, especially in the later Keerweder blocks. The grapes were picked in the cool mornings @ 21.7 – 24.5º Balling.
Harvest dates: 5 / 2 / 08 – 8 / 3 / 08
Grapes lightly crushed and allowed 3 hours skin contact (a long breakfast!) before gently pressing in a traditional basket press. Sulphur added and natural settling allowed for 2 days before 100 % barrel fermentation with natural yeasts. All the wine was kept in 225l and a few 700l casks for 7 to 8 months with lees stirred 1 – 2 times a month initially. Lightly fined with bentonite – a natural clay. 20% new oak used – 80% French, 20% American. No malolactic fermentation. Bottled unfiltered on the property by hand.
Bottling date: 14 / 10 / 08. (854 x 12 x 750ml and 140 x 1.5L produced)
An appealing pale yellow colour.
The nose is a little closed at first, evolving in the glass to show a honeyed botrytis character with baked apple, wet stones, damp hay and a hint of spicy oak. Needs a little air to bring out the inherent richness on the palate. Nicely structured with a balance between the botrytis richness and the racy minerality. A long clean finish. Probably best between 2010 and 2015.
Extremely versatile food wine – excellent with rich fish dishes, sushi and other seafood as well as most subtle white meats or simply on its own.
ALC. 14.56% SUGAR 2.1 TA 6.4 pH 3.5 VA 0.50 SO2 30 free & 92 total