Swartland has gained itself something of a reputation for wines of great personality – funky, hands off. Off the straight and narrow when it comes to varieties too. My wines of the month are shot through with personality and from the Cape, but they’re not from Swartland.
Both are made by David Trafford, whose complex and ageworthy Chenins I first encountered in 2004. But this non-vintage Chenin is a first. As for the Sijnn, as you know I’m a sucker for Portuguese varieties and this, the second vintage I’ve tasted and indeed the second vintage, is another cracker!
Malagas Wine Company Sijnn 2008 (Swellendam)
This blend of Shiraz 40%, Mourvedre 29%, Touriga Nacional 22% and Trincadeira 9% has terrific personality for such a young vineyard (3-4 years old). One can only conclude that the grapes are perfectly at home in this warm, dry, windy and remote location on soils which Trafford describes as “90% stone…mostly a bed of rolled stones on a slate / shale base.” At any rate, this long, layered red brilliantly combines vibrant, crunchy almost, red berry and currant fruits with savoury leather and spice (it’s intensely spicy). Textured chocolatey tannins do not detract from its attractive dryness (as in lack of sweetness, not astringency). Fire up the BBQ now! Imported by Bibendum, it costs £18.69 at All About Wine
De Trafford Chenin Blanc Four V NV
Trafford tells me that the Chenin Four V was partly accidental – a barrel of 2009 took two years to ferment, but still tasted gorgeous, so he combined it with barrels from the 2008, 2010 and 2011 vintages! Powerful, rich and weighty with lashings of honey, nougat and marzipan its leesily textured, characterful palate is underscored by lemony acidity, which keeps it moving! Distinctly different, with no shortage of oomph. I am not sure if this wine makes it to the UK – contact Bibendum for details.