Stellenbosch, South Africa
This de Trafford Merlot is a beautiful red wine gem from the Stellenbosch wine region of South Africa that could change your mind about Merlot! De Trafford Winery is situated on the beautiful Mont Fleur farm set at the top of a beautiful valley above Stellenbosch. It saddles the Stellenbosch and Helderberg Mountains at an elevation of 1200 ft. We made the trek up in April 2009 to meet owner/winemaker David Trafford and taste his latest releases. It was well worth the trip! De Trafford produces a minuscule 3500 cases per year, limited to selected varietals: Chenin Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz and Merlot. The wines typically sell out within weeks of release. In just 10 years, David Trafford has become one of South Africa's top winemakers and one of only 38 invited members of the prestigious Cape Winemakers Guild.
Grapes for de Trafford Merlot were hand-picked from 10-year old vines of Mont Fleur Vineyard and a second vineyard block of 16-year-old vines. 3% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot were blended with the Merlot. The wine underwent malolactic fermentation in the barrel to integrate the new oak component, using 35% new French oak. Time in barrel was 19 months. The wine was bottled lightly fined and unfiltered by hand on the property. It is deep true red in color with a nose of bright red berries and cherries and subtle notes of earth, nuts and spices. Full-bodied yet elegantly restrained, the palate is packed with complex fruit and fine tannins. It is finely textured with a classic long, dry finish. The wine is drinking beautifully now and will continue to develop in bottle over the next 5-6 years. Only 870 cases produced.
Enjoy de Trafford Merlot with veal chops, roast duck, creamy pastas and aged cheeses.