It’s Really All About the Vineyards
Circumstance Chardonnay is produced from 19 year old vines on the windswept, low-yielding slopes of the Schapenberg, which is on the coastal outskirts of Stellenbosch. We abide by organic and biodynamic methods based on Old World, sustainable practices in our vineyards to ensure that the vines are nourished, healthy and in balance. Our soils are free of chemicals and are kept healthy by using plant extracts, fungi and bacteria from our own organic compost.
These traditional methods ensure a balanced vine that produces small yields and intense flavours. The vineyards are about four kilometers from the sea and are planted at a height of 270 to 300 meters above sea level. The soils are of sandstone origin with medium-sized stones helping with drainage and moisture retention. Production was approximately 5 t/ha.
A Gentle Hand
Waterkloof’s winemaking philosophy is the same for all our premium white wines. We follow a traditional, minimalist approach which means that we interfere as little as possible with the winemaking process. This allows the flavours prevalent in that specific vineyard to be expressed in the bottle. All grapes are whole-bunch pressed for the gentle extraction of the purest juices. It is then allowed to settle for 24 hours without the addition of any settling agents, after which we rack the clean juice to older 600L barrels. This wine fermented for about 4 months and was left on the primary lees without the addition of sulphur for a further 5 months. At Waterkloof we also rely on natural, wild yeast fermentation to allow a slow release of aromas and a more structured palate. Fermentation took place at temperatures between 18 ºC to 20ºC.
And A Few Prayers To Mother Nature – 2014/15 Growing Season
The Stellenbosch area experienced a good winter with sufficient rain to fill the dams and provide enough cold units in July to have the vines in full dormancy. From August the temperatures started to rise slowly and spring arrived early with flowering occurring under ideal conditions. This ensured even ripeness, which contributed to excellent grape quality. We experienced slightly windy conditions during this stage, which led to looser bunches and helped to attain lower yields and more concentration.
Rainfall fell off dramatically from September with warm, dry weather and less strong wind than usual. Throughout the growing season, temperatures remained moderate, with intermittent hot days. Veraison started about 2 weeks earlier than usual.
For the rest of the growing season we saw little rain which resulted in very low disease pressure. Even though the days were warm, we noticed that the evenings cooled down very nicely.
The 2015 harvest was the earliest to date at Waterkloof. We started picking around 2 weeks earlier than usual due to the early spring but hang time was sufficient to allow phenolic ripeness. The quality of the fruit was exceptional; low pH, high acidity and clean fruit with little to no rot.
Tasting Notes from the Glass of Nadia Barnard
A definite flintiness on the nose with aromas of stone fruit and a kiss of honey. With age, the aromas will evolve to almond and lightly grilled dried fruit. On the palate, there is tightness which will open up in time. Long and persistent in the aftertaste, ending with an exceptional wealth of flavours and a balanced acidity.
The Numbers (2490 Bottles Produced)
Alc: 14 %
TA: 5.3 g/l