It’s Really all about The Vineyards
Chenin Blanc grapes can be used to produce so many different wine styles because they so readily take on different characteristics depending on where they are grown, how they are aged, and how they are used.
The varietal has always been seen as the “workhorse” of the South African wine industry, contributing acidity to bigger bulk blends. Because of this past we are now fortunate to have older and well established bush vines, which have a big influence on quality, giving a naturally lower yield.
The Seriously Cool Chenin Blanc is produced from 30-40 year old bush-vine vineyards in the Helderberg area. The vineyards are close to the ocean, which ensure a long growing season and allow for ripe fruit with good concentration and a balanced acidity. The soils are of sandstone origin with medium-sized stones, which help with drainage, but also have a very good ability to retain moisture. Production was approximately 4 t/ha.
A Gentle Hand
The winemaking philosophy for all our premium white wines from Waterkloof is the same. We follow a traditional, minimalistic approach which means that we interfere as little as possible with the winemaking process. It allows the flavours prevalent in that specific vineyard to ultimately express themselves in the wine. To achieve this goal, all grapes are whole-bunch pressed, which ensures that we extract the juice in the gentlest way. The juice is then allowed to settle for 24 hours after which it is racked from the settling tank into stainless steel tanks and older 600 liter barrels. We do not inoculate the juice with commercially cultivated yeast, but allow the wild yeast prevailing in the vineyard to ferment the juice. We also do not add acid or any enzymes during the process. The natural fermentation process took 6 months to complete. Only a light filtration was used prior to bottling.
And A Few Prayers to Mother Nature for the – 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 ideal conditions. This ensured even ripeness, which contributed to excellent grape quality. We experienced slightly windy conditions during this stage, which led to looser bunches and helped to attain lower yields and more concentration.
Rainfall fell off dramatically from September with warm, dry weather and less strong wind than usual. Throughout the growing season, temperatures remained moderate, with intermittent hot days. Veraison started about 2 weeks earlier than usual.
For the rest of the growing season we saw little rain which resulted in 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
This elegant wine displays aromas of pears, citrus, white flowers and a hint of spice. Because of the longer alcoholic fermentation, the flavours are well integrated on the palate, finishing with a crisp acidity.
The Numbers (8817 Bottles Produced)
Alc: 13 %
RS: 3.1 g/l