De Trafford Collage 1996
(Cabernet Sauvignon 50 % Merlot 50%)
Cab.S. block 8 year old vines on 4 wire vertical trellis. Clone CS 46A on 101-14 rootstock. Soil gravelly red Hutton type. No irrigation necessary in 1996. Yield 7 tons / hect.
Merlot block 8 year old vines on 4 wire vertical trellis. Clone MO192 on 101-14 rootstock. Soil poor gravelly clay mixture ( Escourt ). No irrigation nec. in 1996. Yield 7 tons / hect.
Both blocks low lying Helderberg mountain sites.
A fairly difficult vintage with above average rain during the growing period. The ripening stage was generally cool with some nail biting scattered rain. It required nerve to wait for full ripeness before picking. The fruit was picked in good healthy condition with nice ripe tannins.
100% destemming and crushing by hand directly into small open top stainless steel fermentation tanks. Spontaneous natural yeast fermentation followed a 3 day cold soak period
Temperature was allowed to rise to 30 degrees celsius and the cap of skins punched down 3 times a day. Total skin contact time approx. 14 days - Merlot, 10 days - Cab.S. Aim is to extract max. colour, flavour and tannins without undue harshness. Wine drained directly to barrels together with single pressing from traditional basket press.
All wine undergoes malolactic fermentation in the barrel. This helps integrate the new oak component and fix colour and flavour compounds. 30% new French oak and 5 % new American oak was used from the high quality 'Taransaud' and ' Demptos' cooperages. Time in barrel 17 months, which included several rackings to gradually clarify the wine and assist maturation development.
This wine was lightly fined with egg whites ( 3 eggs per barrel ), before bottling unfiltered by hand on the property.
Bottling date : 16 / 8 / 97.
A deep youthful mulberry colour. Intense, fresh blackcurrant fruit, vanilla and spices. Attractive creamy fruit and soft tannin on the palate. Drinking well shortly after bottling, but probably best between 1999 and 2005.
Alc. 13.23 Sugar 1.5 TA 5.3 pH 3.74 VA 0.54 SO2 33 & 84