Great wines are made from great grapes. At Waterkloof we strive to produce the finest grapes by adhering to traditional organic and biodynamic methods. Our methods are 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. We do not spray any chemicals in our vineyards. Our focus is to find natural alternatives and to produce our own compost to ensure soil that is full of life, rich in oxygen and brimming with different insects. We want to be able to smell the soil.
Circumstance Viognier is produced from the windswept, low-yielding slopes of Schapenberg Hill. This allows for low production and intense flavours. The vineyards are situated approximately 5 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. The vineyards are an average age of 11 years. Production was approximately 2 t/ha.
And a Few Prayers to Mother Nature – 2013/2014 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. Up to the Winter stage in our vineyards the main focus for the 2013 post harvest time was to further improve the health of our soil by building life in the soil in the form of bacteria ,fungi and earthworms, this was done by composting, cover cropping and by making 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 longer. With the initial bud showing we only sprayed a fungi (Trichoderma specie) onto the buds to protect it by covering the whole area to inhibit 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 normally. This year we were able to pick at a lower sugar level as the desired aromatics were achieved at this point.
The grapes are all hand-picked to ensure pure and flawless berries and are brought to the cellar by our horses. We follow a minimal intervention approach at Waterkloof with the aim to work gently with our precious fruit.
The grapes are whole-bunch pressed in a basket press after which it settles naturally for 12 hours without the addition of any enzymes or settling agents and the clean juice is then racked off to older 600L barrels. Seeing that we stay clear from any chemicals in our vineyards we are able to use the natural occurring yeast from the vineyard to spontaneously start the fermentation. This ensures a much longer fermentation process, with the fine lees in suspension for a longer period. The wine was left on the fine lees for 10 months. Our Circumstance Viognier 2014 is unfined and only lightly filtered.
Tasting Notes from the Glass of Nadia Barnard
A floral perfumed elegance with stone fruit flavours and a subtle hint of spice presents on the nose. A lovely rich, textured wine with a long lingering finish.