IT’S REALLY ALL ABOUT THE VINEYARDS

Cabernet Franc is the original “Cabernet” grape, being one of the parents of Cabernet Sauvignon (a cross between Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Franc). This varietal ripens earlier than Cabernet Sauvignon, making it ideal for the cool slopes of the Helderberg region.

The vines are grown on south-west facing slopes of The Schapenberg, Somerset West. The farm is about 5 kilometers from the sea, with vines planted at a height of between 240 and 260 meters above sea level.

At Waterkloof we do not spray herbicides or pesticides in our vineyards. We produce our own compost and biodynamic preparations which we then disperse into our soil by using work-horses rather than tractors. This ensures soil with more life, where the vine can spread its roots as it pleases, taking up everything it needs from this rich and complex soil. This leads to terroir-driven wines – a true reflection of our vineyard site.

The soils are of decomposed granite origin with medium size stones, helping with both drainage and good moisture retention. Strong south-easterly winds occurred during the growing season, which helped to control growth and crop size. The vineyards are 10 years old. Production was approximately 3 tons/ha.

A GENTLE HAND

All our grapes our hand-picked, cooled overnight and then processed the following morning. The Cabernet Franc grapes were de-stemmed, hand-sorted so that only the best berries were placed into the wooden fermenters via our winery’s gravity-flow system. The alcoholic fermentation started spontaneously by using the natural occurring yeast found on our chemical free vines.

Punch downs took place twice a day (not pump-overs) during fermentation to ensure a moderate extraction of colour and tannin. The wine spent a total of 35 days on the skins to help integrate the tannins, resulting in a well-rounded wine. The skins were separated from the juice via gravity-flow and then gently pressed in a basket press. All the wine went through malolactic fermentation in French barrels and was then aged for 20 months. We make the wine as naturally as possible, with no additions of acids or enzymes allowed.

AND A FEW PRAYERS TO MOTHER NATURE: THE 2012/13 GROWING SEASON

Ideal weather conditions during the harvest season – moderate day temperatures, cool night temperatures and no prolonged rain and heat waves – had a positive impact on wine grape quality and established good colour in the reds and lovely acidity in the whites with balanced flavours. The grapes were healthy with a bit of rot occurring later in the season.

A TASTING NOTE FROM THE GLASS OF NADIA BARNARD

On the nose this is a classic Cabernet Franc with hints of pencil shaving, tomato leaf and lovely red fruits. The mouth feel is long, elegant with a memorable finish. Cabernet Franc’s liveliness makes it an excellent food wine. A slow roasted lamb shank rubbed in rosemary would complement this wine exceptionally well.

THE NUMBERS (3405 BOTTLES PRODUCED)

Alc: 13.5%
TA: 4 g/l
pH: 3.76
RS: 2.1 g/l