De Trafford Straw Wine 2008
( VIN DE PAILLE – CHENIN BLANC )
The first of its kind in South Africa.
This is now our twelth year of producing this treasured wine.
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. The Chenin Blanc seemed to relish the knife-edge harvest conditions with small heat waves alternating with short, wet, cold spells. It was difficult to produce Straw Wine in these conditions with botrytis rot starting to develop late in the season. We could not leave the grapes on the racks as long as usual resulting in a slightly drier, more elegant wine than usual.
Harvest date: 1/2/2008 – 8/3/2008 @ 22.5 – 24.8° B
Reharvested from racks: 21/2/2008 –13/3/2008 @ 43 - 48° B
The grapes were picked at optimum ripeness and laid out on drying racks in 70% shade for about 2½ weeks. This allows the grapes to concentrate sugars, acids and flavours, before reharvesting in the cool mornings. Fermented with natural yeasts and matured for 20 months using mostly new 225L French oak barrels. Racked while in barrel to remove heavy sediment and lightly bentonite fined. A small (10%) acidity increase required to assist bentonite fining.
Bottling date: 29/10/09. Production: 375 cases (6 x 375 ml)
Attractive bright gold colour. Nose of ripe old lemon & dried apricot, nuts, honey and burnt treacle. The palate is less intensely sweet than usual (only163g/ℓ instead of the usual 230g/ℓ) with a fresh liveliness. Not as rich as usual but still has great depth and complexity and a long finish. More versatile with food than most vintages. Excellent with various patés, particularly duck liver as well as matured hard cheeses. Desserts that are not too sweet, such as apple tart
or apricot flans.
Alc. 13.3 Sug. 163 TA .9 pH 3.84 VA 1.12 SO2 20free & 192total
These are naturally made, living wines which may deposit a sediment and / or tartrate crystals – a healthy sign of a handcrafted wine.