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Cabernet SauvignonVertical Tasting Notes

These notes attempt to give some guidance to when best to drink our wines. The wines tasted were from our own library collection kept in an underground cellar. The conditions are good, but not ideal with ambient temperature going up to 18°C in the middle of the summer and down to 12°C in winter. This probably mirrors the average collector, but those with differing conditions should adjust accordingly.

Please note we started to get considerably better quality and longer corks since the 1996 vintage.  Many of the 1992 to 1995 vintages unfortunately vary a lot depending on the condition of the corks.

Please note that these notes should supersede the predictions of the fact sheets, which are prepared shortly after bottling. We will attempt to update these tasting notes every 2 years. We would welcome any feedback.

Tasting date: August 2015

1992     Still quite youthful claret red colour. Lovely creamy nutty, cigar box nose with some dark mulberry fruit under cinnamon. Still lots of fruit on palate. Nice full, but lightish palate, nice texture. Fruit still carries through to the finish & quite a long finish. Still drinking well.

1993   Colour slightly darker than 1992, but a bit more developed. Blackcurrant darker fruit nose than 1992 but less creamy. Lifted nutty character more obvious. Palate a bit more chunky than 1992 with some unripe tannins. Though still holding up well. Quite long but dryish finish. Drink up, though not showing much change over the last 5 years.

1994   Medium light claret red colour. Still quite youthful. Quite fine red berry fruit with some cigar box & cinnamon. Dry but lovely palate with enough red berry fruit & dusty spice carrying to a moderate long finish. Very claret like, almost a bit Tuscan in its austerity. A little unripe but not green. Still drinking well, should continue to last.

1995   Medium claret red colour. Quite youthful. Very complex nose. A bit of meatiness. Some dark fruit and cigar box. Rich but elegant. Soft quite easy drinking. Velvety; more Pomerol like structure / texture. Dark fruit with some of the creaminess of 1992, some blackcurrant of 1993. Best of the first 5 vintages. Still drinking well.

1996   Medium claret red colour. A little more vegetal, tomato paste, Bordeaux like character on the nose than most other vintages. Reflecting the cooler wet season. A bit more subdued & less complex than 1995 / 1997, but still very attractive and interesting. Lovely palate, elegant, a bit lean and drying finish but enough fruit & spice to keep interest. Excellent entry to mid palate. Past its best, but still delicious to drink over the next four years.

1997   Claret colour with some sediment & showing some age. This vintage has always had a browner rim, bit like traditional Spanish wines, since its youth. Forthcoming youthful nose. Mix of dark & red berry fruit & nuts / cedarwood. A touch of creaminess. Really complex & very alive. Excellent structured palate. Alive with fruit & complex spices. Very complex and long finish with some nuttiness at the end. At its best; will still keep a long time.

1998   Deep true red with claret red rim. Very youthful colour. Lovely complex spicy nose with creamy red fruit and cedary light cigarbox notes. A little more meatiness on the palate. Rich full palate with a big entry & mid palate, drying a little on the finish. Quite chunky tannins. Still youthful. At its best; will still keep a long time.

1999   Colour similar to 1998 but not quite as deep. Expressive nose. Showing a bit riper, slightly stewed fruit of the hot vintage. Red & dark fruit, berries, cinnamon & cedar. Very creamy. Some tomato paste. Palate more convincing than the nose. Very soft, seductive with lots of ripe berry fruit and creaminess from beginning to end. Moderately long finish with fruit & creamy texture carrying through to the end. At its best & has been at its best for 10 years, so should continue for some time.

2000   Deep, youthful colour. Very little aging showing. Nose a bit restrained. Fruit very much alive and to the fore but not very expressive. Blackberry with some cedar & spice. Attractive hint of meatiness and a lot of subtle flavours. Quite juicy and slightly creamy. Big, full palate. Lots of fruit and nice structure to support, which drops off a bit on the finish and shows a bit of alcohol. At its best; will still keep a long time.

2001   (Watch out for crumbly corks. We seem to have a bad batch from Xiberta in 2001. Use a 2-prong corkscrew.) Medium deep, youthful colour. Some herbal, fynbos character showing through the lovely red fruits in a most attractive way. Juicy fruit & spice, some nuts & liquorice. Very complex & appealing. Lovely palate. Quite elegant despite the high alcohol. Red fruit carries through to the finish. At its best; will still keep a long time.

2002   Colour similar to 2001 – surprisingly deep & youthful for a wet & difficult vintage. Quite closed, but dense fruit nose. Juicy. Nice entry & mid palate, but drying out a bit on the finish. Bit short with a dry, creamy finish. Lovely spicy nose, cigar box, orange rind and tomato paste to go with the juicy red fruit. There is a lot to enjoy in this wine, but it does show the weakness of the vintage in the finish and overall texture. Drinking well – it won’t improve but should still last a long time.

2003   Lovely deep, true red youthful colour. First vintage with a hint of mint. Quite attractive but rather atypical. Some meatiness. More herbal, fynbos on palate than mint. Nice texture & complex flavours with a long finish. One of my favourite favourite vintages. At best, may even yet improve and will certainly last several years.

2004   Lovely deep, true red, youthful colour. Lovely red fruit, cedar, cigar box, quite classic with some creaminess. Palate shows excellent red fruit and cedary character. Quite seamless long dry but powerful finish. Classic de Trafford Bordeaux / new world Cab. At its best with many years ahead – at least another decade.

2005   Lovely deep, true red, youthful colour. Rich, creamy blackcurrant nose. Forthcoming & complex. Bit more Napa like than 2004. Big, juicy palate, but great structure to support it. Long finish. Big & beautiful. At its best, will go on for a decade or two.

2006   Lovely deep, true red, youthful colour. Similar nose to 2005, albeit a little more meaty. Alcohol showing a bit. Palate a little held up in its tannin structure. Finish long, but very dry with a lot of tannins. Still needs 3-4 years to really open up. Should keep for a decade or two.

2007   Lovely deep true red youthful colour. Quiet nose. Spices to the fore with some fynbos and complex red & dark berry fruit. Despite the alcohol the palate has elegance, freshness and shows a lot of complexity. Mixed berry fruit and spices persist to the dryish but pleasant finish. Cigar box. (Similar in style to 2001) Attractive to drink now in a more austere, European style, but should improve over the next 4-5 years and last a decade or more.

2008   Medium, deep true red youthful colour. Upfront fruitiness on the nose. Red & darkish berry fruits. Some fynbos, herbs and a bit of mint behind. Pretty nose. Lovely soft, but lively palate. Quite complex, but not the depth and structure of most other vintages. Recommend drinking over the next 3-4 years to enjoy its lively best, but should certainly last a lot longer.

2009   Intense deep true red youthful colour. Complex, delicious, almost primary red & dark berry fruit on the nose with complex cigar box notes too. Seriously long and complex palate. Quite a classic dry finish. Drinking well now, but should continue to develop positively for another 5-7 years and last a decade or two longer.

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