It’s Really All About The Vineyards
Waterkloof has been organic since 2007 and biodynamic since 2009, but 2015 will be remembered as a landmark harvest, as we celebrated our first vintage with certification from Ceres (organic) and Demeter (biodynamic).
We use organic and biodynamic methods based on Old World, sustainable practices in our vineyards to ensure that the vines are nourished and in balance. Our soils are free of chemicals and are kept healthy by using plant extracts, fungi and bacteria from our own, natural compost.
These traditional methods, combined with a southwest-facing, windy vineyard site ensure a balanced vine with a naturally low production and intense flavours. The vineyards are about 5 kilometers from the sea and are planted at a height of between 270 and 300 meters above sea level. The soils are of sandstone origin with medium-sized stones, helping with drainage and also with moisture retention. The vineyards are an average age of 18 years.
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. To achieve this, all grapes are whole bunch pressed so that we extract the juice in the gentlest way possible. The juice is then settled for 24 hours.
Naturally present wild yeast occurring on the grapes is allowed to ferment the juice. This leads to a longer fermentation with a slow release of aromas and a more structured palate. The wine was mainly fermented in older 600L barrels and left on the gross lees for 10 months prior to bottling. We do not add acid or enzymes during the winemaking process, with only a light filtration and a small addition of sulphur as a preservative prior to bottling.
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 makes an excellent contribution to quality. We experienced slightly windy conditions during this stage, which led to looser bunches which helps to attain lower yields, thus more concentration.
Rainfall fell off dramatically from September; warm, dry weather and less strong wind than usual. Throughout the growing season, temperatures remained moderate, with intermittent really hot days. Veraison started about 2 weeks earlier than usual.
For the rest of the growing season we saw little rain which resulted in a 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.
A Tasting Note From The Glass Of Nadia Barnard
An elegant wine with notes of white pepper, lime and a hint of green pepper on the nose. It has a rich texture and mouthfeel, with a lingering minerality ending with a fresh acidity. An excellent wine to pair with fresh crayfish on the grill.
The Numbers (22 601 bottles produced)
Alc: 13.5 %