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The wines of De Trafford, Stellenbosch, South Africa

Architect David Trafford makes these wines from his vineyards on the slopes of Mont Fleur, up in the mountains surrounding the Stellenbosch region. Just 3000 cases are made each vintage, which, coupled with the high quality, has meant that these are the ultimate in boutique South African wines. Currently the Shiraz is showing a touch too much oak for my liking, but the Cabernet-based wines are supple and elegant These wines are stocked by Swig in the UK, and are represented by Bibendum.

The premium wines of South Africa are no longer such give-away bargains as they once were, partly because of the stronger Rand, and partly also because the export markets have woken up to them. Itís a bit of a shame for impecunious wine nuts, but at least this means that these wines can now be judged on a fully equal footing with their peers.

Guide retail prices are given in brackets.

De Trafford Chenin Blanc 2003 Stellenbosch
Rich herby nose with some new oak evident, leading to a structured, herb-tinged woody palate. Nice rich expression of Chenin Blanc. Very good+ 86/100 (£10.95)

De Trafford Shiraz 2001 Stellenbosch
Rich, intense nose is very modern with spicy oak evident. The palate is full, spicy and rich. Very intense with lots of oak and good acid. Very good+ 88/100 (£19.95)

De Trafford Cabernet Sauvignon 2001 Stellenbosch
Thereís a nice minerally, cedary edge to the ripe fruit on the nose. The palate is elegant and ripe with chewy blackcurrant fruit with a chalky, mineralic edge. Very elegant. Very good/excellent (£14.50)

De Trafford Elevation Cabernet Merlot 2001 Stellenbosch
A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Shiraz. Lovely ripe nose is quite intense but elegant at the same time. The dense ripe palate has a minerally quality backing up the sweet ripe fruits. Velvety tannins. Big but balanced. Very good/excellent 92/100 (£25)

see also: the wineanorak's guide to South African wine

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