De Trafford Cabernet Sauvignon 2018

By , 7 October 2021

The 2017 vintage is much acclaimed when it comes to Stellenbosch red wines but what of 2018? De Trafford in Stellenbosch describes it as “another excellent vintage to follow 2017 after two years of drought… Disease pressure was very low… Harvest a little later than usual with very little rain problems. Similar, elegant vintage to 2017 with a lower acidity and little more fruit”.

This property is well known for its Cabernet Sauvignon and the 2018 (price: R370 a bottle) is indeed a beauty. Grapes from four blocks ranging in age from nine to 24 years, vinfication involved pontaneous fermentation before maturation lasting 22 months in French oak barrels, 35% new. Red and black berries, violets and a dusting of herbs, pencil shavings and a hint of oak spice on the nose while the palate is full but balanced – great fruit definition, fresh acidity and firm but fine tannins. With an alcohol of 14.7%, this is not short of power but equally it’s very well proportioned and while single-variety Cab can be a bit dour, this is already entirely engaging but should only get better with time.

CE’s rating: 95/100.

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