It’s Really All About The Vineyards
At Waterkloof we use organic as well as biodynamic methods based on Old World, sustainable practices in our vineyards to ensure that the vines are nourished and in balance. When you drive into the farm you are able to see the cows, pigs, sheep, goats chickens and horses which we use for their manure as well as weed control and many other purposes. Our soils are free of chemicals and are kept healthy by using plant extracts, fungi and bacteria from our own, natural compost. Healthier soils mean vineyards with roots that are going down more than 5 meters, truly expressing the terroir.
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 20 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 in the wine. To achieve this, all grapes are harvested on taste, whole-bunch pressed in our modern basket press- so that we extract the juice in the gentlest way. The juice is then settled naturally for 24 hours. Naturally present wild yeast is employed to ferment the juice, in old 600litre barrels. This leads to a longer fermentation process with a slow release of aromas and a more structured palate.
The natural fermentation process took 9 months to complete, after which the wine was left on the gross less for another 4 months. We do not add any acid or enzymes during the winemaking process, with only a light filtration and a small addition of sulphur added as a preservative prior to bottling.
And A Few Prayers To Mother Nature- 2017/18 Growing Season
The Cape experienced a very dry growing season from the end of the 2017 harvest and also during the beginning of 2018. The 2017 winter was not exceptionally cold but still colder than the previous three years, which helped to ensure an even budburst. The rainfall was the lowest that we have experienced in the last 10 years on the farm.
Budburst started earlier than usual seeing that the winter was not very cold. We could see some of the first buds appear early in September. From there on the vines were struggling to grow due to the dry condition and veraison only took place in early January. The dam levels were also low and we were only able to irrigate the younger blocks. The best practice during dry conditions is to always have a complete weed-free vineyard to prevent excessive water usage and to limit stress on the vine by suckering if needed- sometimes this also happens naturally.
In early January we did receive rain and also a bit in early February. We believe that this was the saving grace for our vines to help them ripen the fruit more evenly. During this time, we did not see excessive heat spikes and had lovely cool evenings which helped to have a longer growing season and have all the flavours develop over a longer period.
Harvest started about 10 days later than in 2017. We saw a decrease in berry size on some blocks. Fortunately, little to no rot was found on the grapes, which helped to have a stress-free sorting table. Overall, we are more than happy with the quality of the 2018 harvest.
A Tasting Note From The Glass Of Nadia Barnard
Sauvignon blanc is a varietal that shows terroir very well. In this wine, the Schapenberg comes through with hints of stone fruit, lime combined with notes of gooseberries. The palate shows great roundness, balance and has a long and elegant finish. Enjoy it with a variety of dishes, especially seafood scallop or even a crab salad – just keep it simple!
Alc: 14.5 %
RS: 4 g/l
TA: 6.4 g/l