We recently introduced you to Nadia with the official announcement of her appointment as Waterkloof’s new winemaker. Today, we sit back and chat to her whilst relaxing next to the fireplace in the Waterkloof Tasting Room, to find out more about what makes her tick:
Where does your love of wine and winemaking originate?
From my father, who has always taken me along to the wine farms in the region and taught me how to appreciate wine from a young age. He built a wine storage cellar below our house, where I also now keep my wines.
Describe your love of wine in just one word?Bliss.
What’s your absolute favourite Waterkloof wine?
At the moment it’s the Circumstance Chardonnay 2010. I love the minerality and balanced acidity on the wine.
What’s the funniest thing that’s ever happened to you whilst in a wine cellar?
A work colleague once had to lift one barrel on a cradle with the forklift. To balance the weight, I had to sit on the one side. As he lifted the barrel, my weight was obviously not enough to balance things out and the barrel, cradle and myself all went flying! Not that funny for me at that exact moment, but for the people watching it was a hilarious sight. And I can laugh about it now!
You’re out camping and you discover you haven’t brought a corkscrew along – how do you open your wine?That will never happen! My boyfriend always has a multi-tool with him, so we will stick the knife into the cork and pull. And, I am sorry to say, that if pulling doesn’t work, we’ll push the cork into the bottle. We are camping, after all!
What’s happening in the Waterkloof cellar during winter?At the moment, we are taking wines out of barrel after malolactic fermentation and adding sulphur. During the winemaking process, there is a primary alcoholic fermentation and also a secondary fermentation, which is an acid conversion. This secondary fermentation is called malolactic fermentation. It is the process of taking the harsher malic acid in a wine and converting it to a softer lactic acid. By converting malic acid to lactic acid via Lactobacillus bacteria, you end up with a wine that is more approachable and less abrasive on the palate.
Some wineries add this bacteria to the wine, but we don’t have to as t occurs naturally on your grapes when using organic methods in the vineyard. After this fermentation is complete, we put the wine into stainless steel tanks and add sulphur to inhibit any other bacteria, and also to lower the risk of oxidation. The wine then goes back to barrel for the ageing process.
We’re also busy with blending the Circle of Life white components. With this wine, we practice co-fermentation of the Sauvignon Blanc and Chenin Blanc, so the two varietals marry together from the start. We fermented half of the blend in barrel, and the other half in tank. Currently, we are blending the tank and wine components together and placing this back into barrel again, together with the lees, for ageing.
If you could only choose one wine to drink for the rest of time, what would it be – and why?A Chablis Grand Cru Blanchot. I worked in the area for two vintages and also travelled there numerous times. It is my favourite place in the world, with some of the best wine in the world, too!