How does David Trafford of Stellenbosch cellar DeTrafford do it? At a tasting billed as “Best of SA vs Bordeaux” put on by retailer Wine Cellar, I had it as my top wine in a flight of five assembled as being Merlot-driven and/or Right Bank in style (the others consisting of La Fleur de Boüard 2012 and Larrivet-Haut-Brion 2012 from Bordeaux as well as Morgenster 2011 and Raats Red Jasper 2013 from South Africa).
On paper, the Merlot 2010 would have most wine connoisseurs turning up their noses as 1) it’s Merlot and 2) it has a whopping alcohol of 15.2%. Encountered blind, however, it was compelling.
From four different blocks of Merlot plus 12% Cabernet Franc, fermentation occurred spontaneously and maturation lasted 18 months in French oak, 35% new. Red and black berries, an attractive note of fresh herbs and pencil shavings on the nose. Pure fruit and bright acidty – full but well balanced and immensely satisfying to drink. It’s current release but already approachable now. Wine Cellar price: R220 a bottle.
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