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 approximately five 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 also with moisture retention. The vineyards are an average age of 11 years. Production was approximately 2t/ha.
And a Few Prayers to Mother Nature – 2014/2015 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 near perfect conditions. This allowed for even ripening which contributed to the quality of the wine. During this stage we also experienced windy conditions which led to looser bunches and a naturally lower yield, packed with concentration.
Throughout the growing season temperatures remained moderate, with the odd heat spike here and there. Veraison (the onset of ripening) started two weeks earlier than usual. During 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 favourably.
The 2015 harvest was the earliest to date at Waterkloof. We started picking two 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.
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 hand-picked to ensure only flawless berries are brought in to the cellar by our horses. They are then sorted and whole bunch pressed so that we extract the juice in the gentlest way possible. The juice is then settled for 24 hours without the use of enzymes.
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 fermented in a single older 600L barrel and left on the gross lees for 13 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. Only one barrel was made and the wine was bottled by hand.
Tasting Notes from the Glass of Nadia Barnard
This wine shows prominent minerality entwined with stone fruit flavours and a subtle hint of spice on the nose. A rich, textured wine with a long lingering finish. It is the perfect match for seafood curry.
RS: 3.1 g/L
TA: 5.9 g/L