Waterkloof Estate, the conservation-minded winelands marvel on the elevated slopes of the Schapenberg outside Somerset West, has introduced its maiden Cabernet Franc 2012 to its terroir-driven Circumstance portfolio – a classic rendition of the exceptional elegance this varietal can attain.
“This silky newcomer encompasses a style of Cabernet Franc, rarely found outside the Left Bank of Bordeaux. It purrs with pure elegance, allied with intensity and purity and is an exceptionally versatile food wine,” shares Waterkloof proprietor Paul Boutinot, an Englishman of French descent who bought Waterkloof in 2003 for its very particular location that had absolutely specific circumstances – which meant it had the potential to make fine wine.
This idyllic location is also the reason why Cabernet Franc is now part of the estate’s acclaimed Circumstance range, and no longer destined for its initial purpose as a blending component. The south-west facing slopes of the Schapenberg, a mere 4 kilometres from the False Bay coastline, are ideal for this varietal as it prefers slightly cooler areas for slower and longer ripening periods, lending remarkably intense flavours, finesse and complexity to the grapes.
“At Waterkloof our bio-dynamic farmed vineyards, which are grown organically without conventional pesticides and fertilisers and maintained by our Percheron Horses, have always been – and will always be – our core focus. This is to ensure that we harness the best of nature in the most natural way when producing our unadulterated wines. We aim to express the terroir in each bottle and plant each varietal in the area where it will give us the best fruit,” explains Waterkloof winemaker Nadia Barnard.
“Our initial idea was to use this Cabernet Franc block as a blending component, but when we tasted the wine we knew it had all the refined qualities to make its debut as a single varietal wine. Our soft, lightly textured Cabernet Franc is true to the varietal characteristics because it was grown in rich, healthy soil that is brimming with life,” she adds.
The grapes were handpicked, de-stemmed and gently made their way to the wooden fermenters via the cellar’s natural gravity flow system. In its pursuit for more individually styled wines, Waterkloof solely relies on naturally present, wild yeasts when it comes to fermentation. The Cabernet Franc 2012 spent 35 days on the skins to help integrate the tannins and was aged in French oak for 20 months.
For Nadia this wine is a liquid impersonation of the French actress Audrey Tautou: stylish, classic and very intriguing. Well-balanced and smooth, the Circumstance Cabernet Franc 2012 exudes notes of blackberry, black pepper and earthy thyme whilst its mouthfeel is long and elegant with a memorable finish.
This suave newcomer is a food wine of note. Meat lovers will enjoy it with slow roasted lamb shanks rubbed in rosemary, or vegetarians can marry it with their favourite veggie Moussaka.
The limited release Circumstance Cabernet Franc 2012 is exclusively available at the Waterkloof tasting room. Only 3 300 bottles were produced.
For more information or wine orders contact Waterkloof Estate at Tel: 021 858 1292 or visit www.waterkloofwines.co.za.