It’s Really All About The Vineyards
Circumstance Chenin Blanc is produced from low yielding, bush vines, situated approximately 4km as the crow flies from The Atlantic Ocean. These conditions ensure a cooler and longer growing season and allow for ripe fruit with good concentration and a higher natural acidity. The soils are of sandstone origin, with medium-sized stones helping with drainage. They also have a very good ability to retain moisture. Production was approximately 4 t/ha.
At Waterkloof, we use 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.
A Gentle Hand
The winemaking philosophy is the same for all of Waterkloof’s premium white wines. We follow a traditional, minimalistic 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 hand-picked to ensure that only the finest berries are brought in to the cellar by our horses. We harvest according to taste and spend most of our time in the vineyards to see how the flavours develop.
All grapes are sorted by hand and then whole-bunch pressed in our modern basket press to extract the juice in the gentlest way. The juice is then settled naturally for 24 hours, after which it is racked from the settling tank into 600-liter barrels. The naturally occurring yeasts or “wild yeasts” are allowed to start the fermentation process. This leads to a longer fermentation process with a slow release of aromas and a more structured palate. The natural fermentation process took 7 months to complete, after which the wine was left on the gross less for a further 3 months. We do not employ battonage nor do we add any acid or enzymes during the winemaking process, only a small addition of sulphur as a preservative and a light filtration prior to bottling.
And A Few Prayers To Mother Nature- 2016/17 Growing Season
What looked like an average harvest, due to the winter drought, turned out well, much to our surprise. This also attested yet again that Mother Nature will always keep us on our toes.
The 2016 Cape winter did not see a lot of rainfall – about half the average – and it was also not exceptionally cold. We barely saw any snow on the mountains.
Spring started early which lead to an early bud burst and flowering. Thankfully we did not experience strong winds during this period, which helped with an even berry set. Seeing that we already experienced drought conditions during the berry formation stage, cell formation was also impacted, which meant small cells from the start.
In January, we received a little rain which changed the game and assisted the vine to grow without being too stressed. During the rest of the season we had beautiful cool evenings and mild day temperatures and this ensured a proper, even ripening process.
We started picking at the end of January and were very happy to see little to no rot; small berries with a lot of concentration, and great acids!
A Tasting Note From The Glass Of Nadia Barnard
This wine keeps me going back to the glass to appreciate its intriguing complexity ranging from beautiful stone and citrus fruits to floral notes on the nose. The palate shows great length and a fresh acidity. Enjoy it with a variety of dishes such as roast chicken or a simple cheese platter.
The Numbers (7 780 Bottles Produced)
Alc: 12 %
RS: 2 g/l
TA: 5.2 g/l