It’s Really all about the Vineyards

Circle of Life tells the story of Waterkloof: A once conventionally farmed vineyard with great potential, that -since Paul Boutinot took over the property- has been transformed into a living, breathing organic and biodynamic vineyard by Farm Manager Christiaan Loots and his team.

At Waterkloof we strive to produce balanced, characterful grapes by adhering to traditional organic and biodynamic methods. Chickens, sheep and work-horses all play their own unique role in the vineyards. Our soils are free of chemicals and are kept healthy by using plant extracts, fungi and bacteria from our own organic compost. We do not fight nature, we harness it.

Our focus has always been to get a better understanding of Waterkloof and the individual characters of its vineyard blocks. The Circumstance range allows these individual blocks and varietals to be expressed. Conversely, our objective with Circle of Life has been to produce two blends that encapsulate all the varying terroir characteristics and grape varietals found on Waterkloof. Thus, rather than being constrained by a traditional blending style, for example a Bordeaux or Rhône blend, we have instead produced two wines that are not driven by varietal, nor a specific parcel of the vineyard. Instead they are a true reflection of the totality, philosophy and specificity of Waterkloof.

A Gentle Hand

We mainly rely on tasting, to determine the optimum flavour development of the grapes. Grapes are picked early in the mornings, when they are still cool, which helps to preserve the flavours. Extracting juice from the grapes is achieved through whole-bunch pressing. This is the most delicate way to extract the juice.

After a settling period of 24 hours, a large proportion of the juice was destined for co-fermentation. We determined a blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Chenin Blanc prior to fermentation, of which, the majority then went into old 600 litre barrels, whilst the balance was transferred into stainless steel tanks. Ultimately, this allowed for a better integrated and more complete end product. After a very long, natural yeast fermentation of six months, the wine was left on the primary lees for an extended period before bottling. This helped to add more complexity and weight to the palate. The wine was then racked to fermentation tank and the final blend was made up, with the addition of extra Sauvignon Blanc and Chenin Blanc. The wine then undergoes an extended period of ageing in bottle before release. We produce the wine as naturally as possible, with no additions of acids or enzymes allowed.

And a Few Prayers to Mother Nature: The 2013/14 Growing Season

Winter sets up a strong foundation for the rest of the seasons to follow. It prepares the vines for the coming growing season and its effects can be felt throughout. Cold weather conditions during the early part of winter allowed for even bud break during spring. We did however, experience an earlier than normal bud burst due to rising winter temperatures at the end of the season. Rainfall was very low during the winter period, which is always a challenge in areas where we rely on rain to replenish our dam and groundwater levels.

The dry conditions followed through into summer which contributed to a smaller crop. Bouts of extreme hot weather early in January caused sunburn in dryland areas and had a negative effect on the size of the crop.

Fortunately, the warm spell was followed by cooler temperatures for the rest of the ripening period. Grapes could ripen evenly and properly and harvest started about two weeks later than normal due to the cool growing conditions during the final ripening stage.

A Tasting Note from the Glass of Nadia Barnard

The Chenin Blanc aromas are prominent on the nose, with stone fruit and floral notes showing off. Intense flavours, with great balance. A tight mineral core and creamy mid palate allows for great complexity and a persistent finish, whilst the Sauvignon Blanc lends lovely, fresh acidity to the wine.

The Numbers (20 575 Bottles Produced)

Alc: 13. 5%
RS: 3.3 g/l
TA: 5 g/l
pH: 3.29