It’s Really All About The Vineyards
A cross between Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon is the most famous red wine grape in the world and is celebrated as the king of the reds because of its great structure. With its small, thick skinned berries, it is rich in colour and tannins.
The block used for our Circumstance Cabernet Sauvignon is on the north-west facing slopes of the Schapenberg, at an altitude of about 270 and 300m above sea level and a mere 4 kilometres from the Atlantic Ocean. Strong south-easterly winds help control growth and crop yield. Soils are of decomposed granite origin with fine sand/loam topsoil and medium size stones, helping with both drainage and moisture retention. Production was approximately 4 tons/ha.
At Waterkloof we pride ourselves in not spraying any chemical herbicides or pesticides in our vineyards. We produce our own compost and biodynamic preparations, which we then distribute by utilising our draught horses, as opposed to heavy tractors. These practices ensure loose soil with more life, where the vines can spread their roots as they please; taking up everything they need from our rich and complex earth. We believe that biodynamic farming helps to produce honest, terroir-driven wines that are truly made in the vineyard.
A Gentle Hand
We harvest according to taste and spend a lot of our time in the vineyards to see how the flavours develop. Grapes were destemmed, hand sorted and placed into our open-top wooden fermenters via gravity. The natural fermentation started spontaneously- utilising the wild yeasts present on the fruit. Punch downs (twice a day) were used during fermentation to ensure a soft and slow colour and tannin extraction. The wines spent 30 days on the skins to help integrate the tannins and stabilize the colour. The skins were separated from the juice via gravity flow and gently pressed in a basket press. The wine went through malolactic fermentation in barrel and was then aged in new (20%), second and third fill (80%) French barrels for 20 months. The wine received no fining to ensure that the grapes are purely expressed in the wine. Only sulphur was added and no other additions, such as tartaric acid or enzymes, were allowed.
And A Few Prayers To Mother Nature- 2013/14 Growing Season
The 2013 winter was exceptionally cold and wet. This accumulation of cold units is very favourable to ensure an even budburst and an elegant ripening process. Leading up to winter, our main focus was to further improve the health of our soil by building life in the form of bacteria, fungi and earthworms. This was done by composting, cover cropping and the use of biodynamic preparations.
We experienced high rainfall in mid-November and also in the beginning of January. Budburst was later this year as the winter seemed to carry on for longer. With the initial budburst, we only sprayed a fungi (Trichoderma specie) onto the buds to cover and protect them from any other fungal growth. The results were fantastic and as natural as can be.
From the rest of January and mid to end of February the growing season was cool and optimal. There were no excessive heat spikes and the grapes were able to produce sufficient aromatics with the slower ripening period. We started picking about a week and a half later than usual. This year we were able to pick at a lower sugar level as the desired aromatics were achieved at this stage.
A Tasting Note From The Glass Of Nadia Barnard
On the nose there is ample complexity with notes of red fruit and pencil shavings. The palate shows great focus with refined tannins. This Cabernet Sauvignon is a perfect companion for a flame grilled steak and other red meats.
The Numbers (6 725 bottles produced)
TA: 5.3 g/l
RS: 1.7 g/l