Kinnegar Wines , Importers of fine selected wines

Importers of fine selected wines

Specialist in South African Wines

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Thelema Mountain Vineyards

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Thelema Mountain Vineyards

A Short History

Thelema_Vineyards_climb_towards_Simonsberg

In July 1983 the McLean Family Trust bought the old fruit farm Thelema, situated on the top of the Helshoogte Pass about 6 kilometers outside of Stellenbosch. This purchase was the culmination of a long search by Gyles and Barbara Webb for that rare location where exceptional wines could be made, for this was their sole intention.


The farm comprises 157 ha of land on the slopes of the Simonsberg. The elevation ranges from 370 to 640 meters above sea level of mainly south-facing slopes, making Thelema one of the highest and probably coolest wine farms in the Stellenbosch area. Although wine had been made on the farm in the early part of the century and table grapes produced until the late 1960's, there were no vines on the farm at the time of purchase. The 25 ha under cultivation consisted of plums, apples and pears in varying stages of degeneration. The neglected state of the farm could not detract from its charm - there are spectacular views of the Simonsberg, Drakenstein and Jonkershoek Mountains and the farm is dotted with enormous oak trees. It has, however, involved an enormous effort to convert Thelema into a wine farm. The farm workers housing has been renovated and new cottages built and the old Cape Victorian farmhouse restored. The orchards have gradually made way for vineyards and virgin mountainside cleared and prepared to increase the arable land to about 40 ha. Detailed tests of the soil have revealed them to be high potential decomposed granite with excellent water-retention capacity.

In 2000 Thelema bought Sutherland, an apple orchard in the Elgin Valley. To date 45 hectares of vines have been planted on this cool-climate site, including Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Shiraz, Grenache and Pinot Noir. The rolling hills and close proximity to the Atlantic Ocean offers excellent conditions for vines. All the Sutherland fruit is transported to Thelema for vinification, and bottled under the Thelema Sutherland label.

Gyles Webb directs all farming and winery operations, and the remaining directors are wife Barbara and sister-in-law Jenny de Tolly while Gyles' son, Thomas, is involved in general management, sales and marketing.

De Trafford Chenin Blanc 2008 Technical Data

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De Trafford Chenin Blanc 2008

 

Label painting by Rita Trafford titled "Bird study with Berries".

VINEYARD BLOCKS

2 blocks ( Keerweder ) 36 year old vines on a 3 wire trellis on neighbouring cool, high altitude, SW slope. Deep red Hutton soil with good moisture retention. Unirrigated. Yield 3 tons / ha.

2 blocks ( Post House ) 22 & 24 year old vines on a 7 wire trellis with moveable foliage wires. Lower slopes of the Helderberg, 8 km from the cooling influence of the sea. Gravelly Hutton and Escourt soil. Yield 6 tons / ha. Lightly irrigated just after veraison.

1 block ( Bredell ) 24 year old bush vines. Foothills of the Helderberg 4km from False Bay. Sandy, gravelly Escourt soil. Unirrigated. Yield 7 tons / ha.

VINTAGE CONDITIONS

Typical cold, wet winter followed by a normal growing season with enough rain and warm weather to produce good, balanced growth. As in 2007, the Chenin Blanc seemed to relish the knife – edge harvest conditions with small heatwaves alternating with wet, cold spells. Unlike 2007, we had quite a bit of botrytis, especially in the later Keerweder blocks. The grapes were picked in the cool mornings @ 21.7 – 24.5º Balling.

Harvest dates: 5 / 2 / 08 – 8 / 3 / 08

PRODUCTION

Grapes lightly crushed and allowed 3 hours skin contact (a long breakfast!) before gently pressing in a traditional basket press. Sulphur added and natural settling allowed for 2 days before 100 % barrel fermentation with natural yeasts. All the wine was kept in 225l and a few 700l casks for 7 to 8 months with lees stirred 1 – 2 times a month initially. Lightly fined with bentonite – a natural clay. 20% new oak used – 80% French, 20% American. No malolactic fermentation. Bottled unfiltered on the property by hand.

Bottling date: 14 / 10 / 08. (854 x 12 x 750ml and 140 x 1.5L produced)

TASTING NOTES

An appealing pale yellow colour.

The nose is a little closed at first, evolving in the glass to show a honeyed botrytis character with baked apple, wet stones, damp hay and a hint of spicy oak. Needs a little air to bring out the inherent richness on the palate. Nicely structured with a balance between the botrytis richness and the racy minerality. A long clean finish. Probably best between 2010 and 2015.

Extremely versatile food wine – excellent with rich fish dishes, sushi and other seafood as well as most subtle white meats or simply on its own.

ANALYSIS

ALC. 14.56% SUGAR 2.1 TA 6.4 pH 3.5 VA 0.50 SO2 30free & 92total

De Trafford Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 Technical Data

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De Trafford Cabernet Sauvignon 2007  (The Fine Print !)

 

VINEYARD BLOCKS

1st block 13 year old vines on 7 wire vertical trellis. Mix of 6 different clones on 101-14 rootstock. Mont Fleur vineyard. – high altitude mountain slope. Soil deep red Hutton decomposed granite. Yield 3 tons / ha. (18h?/ha)

2nd block 10 year old vines on 5 wire vertical trellis. Clone CS20C on 101.14 rootstock. Neighbouring east facing Keermont vineyard. Soil deep red Hutton decomposed granite. Yield 3 tons / ha. (18h?/ha)

3rd block 19 year old vines on 4 wire vertical trellis. Clone CS46A on 101-14 rootstock. Soil shallow gravelly red Hutton decomposed granite. On low lying Helderberg mountain site. Yield 3 tons / ha. (18h?/ha)

4th block 4 year old vines on 7 wire vertical trellis. Clone CS169 on 101-14 rootstock. Neighbouring north facing Keermont vineyard. Soil deep red Hutton decomposed granite. Yield 2 ton/ha (12h?/ha)

7% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc and 3% Petit Verdot incl.

These yields equate to less than 1kg of fruit per vine, arguably the threshold for the production of GREAT wine!

VINTAGE CONDITIONS

Typical cold, wet winter followed by a normal growing season with enough rain and warm weather to produce good, balanced growth. The knife-edge harvest conditions with small heat waves alternating with short, wet, cold spells seemed to bring out a nutty character in the Cab.S. and accentuate the natural structure of the wine in quite an elegant way.

Harvest date: 22 / 2 / 07 – 16 / 3 / 07 @ 24.3 – 25.5° B.

PRODUCTION

100% destemming and crushing by hand directly into 2 ton open top fermentation tanks. Spontaneous natural yeast fermentation @ 30ºC with the cap of skins punched down 2 – 4 times a day for 12 to 14 days. Wine drained directly to barrels together with single pressing from traditional basket press.

All our wine undergoes malolactic fermentation in the barrel. 40% new French oak was used from high quality coopers. Time in barrels 22 months with several rackings to gradually clarify the wine and assist maturation. This wine was bottled unfiltered by hand on the property.

Bottling date: 21 / 01 / 09 Production: 720 x 12 x 750m?; 12 x 3?.

TASTING NOTES

Attractive deep red colour. Intense fruitcake, complex berries and black olives. A distinct nutty character evolves and is complimented by pencil shavings and cedar from the fine French oak. Still tight, restrained and rather linear on the palate. Needs time to unfold and show itself.

Decant with air and enjoy with a thick chunk of beef on the braai. Best between 2012 and 2020.

ANALYSIS

Alc. 15.19% SG. 2.2 TA 5.7 pH 3.82 VA 0.57 SO2 9free 37total

De Trafford Wines

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André Morganthal first brought us to meet David Trafford, founder and winemaker at De Trafford wines, in April 1998. For me, this was an amazing visit at the time. Because the winemaking was all done very traditionally, by hand and on a very small scale, it was very easy to see at first hand all of the steps involved in the winemaking process - remember, I was studying for the WSET Diploma at the time and this particular visit gave me huge understanding of the details of the process. The tiny basket press used for the Straw Wine /Vin de Paille looked like a toy but it still in active use.

david traffordDavid Trafford is an architect with no formal training as a winemaker. Who could imagine? David says:

"...understanding and working with the vineyard to coax something magical from the land, after that it's hold thumbs you don't cock it up in the cellar.""I never chose winemaking as a profession – it was thrust upon me. I chose Architecture as a profession, but live on land with such great vineyard potential, it was impossible not to get involved in the wine business."

A working knowledge of winemaking gleaned from local winemakers, a vintage spent at St Emilion and David's own practical experience has ensured a small but steady flow of wines of increasing sophistication.

With an acute appreciation of nature and sense of time and place, David is also disarmingly shy, humorous, and honest. When not making wine he goes to physio to repair his back, he walks in the mountains, jogs, swims, plays tennis, squash and golf.

De Trafford Winery is situated on the beautiful Mont Fleur farm set at the top of a dramatic valley above Stellenbosch, 380m up between the Stellenbosch and Helderberg mountains, right at the end of the Blaauwklip road, between Stellenbosch and Somerset West. You need faith to actually get here as the dirt road in is so long, we still wonder, despite many visits, if we are on the right track. 

The history of wine growing on this mountain farm started with the purchase of the property in 1976 by the Trafford family as inaccessible grazing land. Many of the high altitude slopes were deemed suitable for high quality red grape varieties. Unfortunately, due to the absurd quota restrictions, planting a commercial vineyard had to wait 18 years. In 1983 a small vineyard was established to produce experimental wines – consumed by family and friends! These were our learning curve years ( 1984 – 1991 ), which included lots of help and advice from local winemakers and working experience in France, particularly in the Bordeaux area.

Vineyards

In 1991 quota restrictions were lifted. Our winery was registered in time for the 1992 harvest and a new vineyard was planted in 1994 and 1995. Varieties, clones, rootstocks, vine densities and trellis systems were carefully chosen to suit the subtle variations in soil and microclimate. The aim is to produce high quality red wines which convey the personality and uniqueness of this mountain site to the full.

In addition to grapes grown on Mont Fleur, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Chenin Blanc grapes have been sourced from 3 vineyards in the Helderberg and Stellenbosch Mountain area to produce grapes with highly concentrated, balanced flavour from naturally low yielding vines. Rows of vines are carefully chosen from the various vineyard blocks and monitored throughout the growing season to ensure the best possible quality fruit. Our tiny production of 3500 cases means we can pay every attention to detail.

 

Winery of Good Hope - Black Rock

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The Winery of Good Hope Swartland Vines

"At The Winery of Good Hope, we have been analyzing and experimenting in various alternative sites around the Cape, across an array of cool climate areas, high altitude locations and warmer though coastal spots -using numerous grape varieties, styles and techniques. From the Southern tip of Africa at Cape Aghulus, over the Mountains to the altitudes of Elgin, heading westwards all the way along to the Atlantic-facing summits of the Darling Hills. But the most exciting results we have unearthed are from the totally unassuming though inspiring Perdeberg Mountain, in the Swartland. We believe that this West Coast site is the best kept viticultural secret in South Africa.

THE VINEYARDS AND THE LOGIC

In an area where annual rainfall is a third lower than in Stellenbosch, where the mean mid-Summer (February) temperature is 4 degrees higher than in Stellenbosch and where altitudes are generally 200m lower, the pervading mentality has always been that the Swartland is wheat and table grape country- and certainly not premium wine country. This bias is beginning to be seriously challenged.

Red Grapes go into 600L Barrel for Fermentation


The Perdeberg Mountain dominates the sprawling wheat and cereal planes of the Swartland. It is a lone and imposing outcrop of decomposed granite slopes and peaks, a very distant summit from the silhouette of Table Mountain, visible directly to its South. The West and South-West facing slopes of the Perdeberg have , in this otherwise parched and rugged, rocky environment, some modifying influences, facing directly as they do the cold Atlantic Ocean –which is chilled by the Benguela current, flowing immediately up from the South Pole. With the combination of the maritime breezes, the higher altitude, the granitic sub-soils and the favourable exposures, the Perdeberg Mountain possesses potentially, in fact, some of the most ideal conditions in the Cape to produce world class wines –of certain varieties. This fact is now borne-out by the emergence from the Perdeberg of the Cape’s first iconic wine, and its most sought-after and expensive one : Columella - from the Sadie Family. Indeed it was Eben Sadie and Willie & Tanja De Waal (from Scali) who introduced us to the potential of the Pederberg, some years ago. They converted us from our ignorance and prejudice that the Swartland was a low potential region, to believing fully in its outstanding potential and thus to invest considerable resources in this area.

We spent three years researching the various Terroirs and vineyards until we found what we believe to be one of the greatest spots of them all, in Aprilskloof. Not only did we uncover the ideal partners there (thanks again to Eben Sadie), possessing established vineyards in the particular locations and micro-climates we had identified as being our prefernce, but we also found ourselves with a far more diverse selection of ideal varieties to work with than we had imagined possible. The mineral soils and the climatic idiosyncrasies create a simply idyllic environment for varieties such as Grenache, Carignan, Mourvèdre, Shiraz, Viognier, Chenin as well as a few quirky others…

And thus we kicked-off in the 2004 vintage with the benefit of impeccable, established vineyards and with fruit of a quality and intensity of flavours that blew us away.

In year one, we selected 10 specific vineyards, 6 for our white blend, 4 for the red. Many of these are bush vines and mostly dryland (i.e, no irrigation). The yields, consequently, are very limited –indeed in 2004, the whites averaged about 25 hl / hectare (by comparison, Grand Cru Burgundy can produce +/-40 hl / ha), whilst the reds averaged 32.5 hl / ha. In 2005, a hot vintage, yields were lower still, averaging-out at about 20 hl / ha across red & white. In the subsequent vintages we’ve understood the pattern of yields versus climatic condition and remain astounded by the quality of fruit and the completely individual flavours we manage to extract from this incredible location. Today, we’re producing from about 20 hectares of vines on the Perdeberg and will grow that gently, if we find the right -preferably old- vines in this site to work with. Production will always be very limited; quality is really all we’re interested in.

THE HUMAN INGREDIENT

Barrels ready to receive new wine at Winery of Good Hope

Our belief in this area was stimulated by some of the most passionate wine folk in South Africa, as described above. That endorsement, subsequently fuelled by Alex Dale’s own conversion, dove-tailed so naturally with his own affinities, both taste and experience-wise. Having spent many years educating himself on the wines and the terroirs of the Swartland, Alex was convinced he’d seen a light that would change our entire outlook on the Cape. He also realised that he had the perfect team with which to get stuck in.

Northern Rhone-based Edouard Labeye has to be one of the most broadly experienced individuals in the world with Rhone and Languedoc varieties – working as he does as a vigneron and producer in St. Joseph & Condrieu, whilst at the same time being oenologist and advisor to so many top Estates in both the Rhone valley and across the Languedoc. Coupled with Edouard’s fifteen vintages in South Africa and his understanding and feeling for the wines and the potential of the Cape, Alex’s discovery of the Perdeberg made Edouard smile from ear to ear. Home away from home…! was his immediate reaction. Indeed, the great success of the wines, from of our very first vintage, owes as much to the outstanding fruit as they do to Edouard’s and Alex’s interpretation of it.

Backed by the rest of the Radford Dale team, the Black Rock project was initiated in with a real sense of adventure and excitement. The first wines to be released, from the 2004 vintage, experienced tremendous success and we have been working hard to build on that with each vintage. Working with some tough old varieties like Carignan and Grenache has convinced us of the versatility and outstanding potential of some of the lesser-known areas in the Cape. Just by walking off the beaten path, we have opened-up a huge new horizon for our wines. Which goes to show how much mentality limits us or sets us free.

The human ingredient is always a pivotal factor –although the more you know, the more you realise that nature is the driving force. Perhaps mankind has put himself ahead of nature for too long, evidence of which we see increasingly around the planet. Having discovered the enigmatic terroir of the Perdeberg and having recognised its untamable spirit, we’re content to take a back seat and to allow the character of the wines to guide us."

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