Stellenbosch, South Africa
About De Trafford
With a mere 5 hectares under vine, de Trafford farm is the ultimate in boutique wineries. The farm, beautiful Mont Fleur, is situated 380m up against the Helderberg Mountain, south of Stellenbosch. De Trafford produces a miniscule 3500 cases per year, and production is limited to selected varietals namely: Chenin Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz and Merlot. At present, wines sell out within weeks of release. Owner and self-taught winemaker David Trafford has made the transition from being an architect to one of South Africa’s top winemakers in just 10 years.
The wine-making philosophy focuses on making natural wines with a sense of vintage and balance. The critical decision of when to harvest is determined by tasting the fruits for optimum ripeness, chemical results will take second place– trusting empirical knowledge and first hand experience are the most determining factor for decision making. Harvest is done by hand, a traditional basket press is used, fermentation is done using indigenous yeast that is naturally present on the skin of the grapes, minimum handling and gravity is used to transfer the wine in and out of the barrels, there are no additives and no filtration is done before bottling.
Straw wine (Vin de Paille) is a unique specialty - the first of its kind in South Africa. De Trafford wines have a distinctive personality - intensely flavored and finely structured, with great length and finesse.
David and his wife design their own labels. David designs the red wine labels with architectural themes, while his wife, Rita paints the labels for the Chenin Blanc, which changes each year, and the Straw Wine, which remains the same.
De Trafford wines have done very well with their Wine Spectator ratings. The score of 93 points was awarded to their Straw Wine 2001, Elevation 393 2000 and Shiraz 2000. David also received 94 points for his 2001, 2003 and 2005 Shiraz, as well as for the 2005 Straw Wine, the highest score given to a South African dessert wine yet. According to the WS, David makes 2 of the top 4 wines of South Africa, the Shiraz and Elevation 393.