It’s Really All About The Vineyards
Chenin Blanc grapes can be used to produce many different wine styles because they 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 huge 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 and Stellenbosch regions. The Helderberg vineyards are close to the ocean, which ensure a long growing season and allow for ripe fruit with good concentration and balanced acidity. The Stellenbosch block still gets a nice cool breeze through the vineyards but does experience slightly warmer conditions which contribute to the beautiful richness in the wine. The Helderberg soils are of sandstone origin with medium-sized stones, which help with drainage and good moisture retention, where the Stellenbosch component is rooted in sandy soils. Both blocks have a low production of 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 in our modern basket press, to 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 concrete eggs and also 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 around 6 months to complete after which we left the wine in the barrels and eggs to develop further complexity. Only a light filtration was used prior to bottling.
And A Few Prayers To Mother Nature- 2016/17 Growing Season
What looked like an average harvest, due to the winter drought, turned out well, much to our surprise. This also attested yet again that Mother Nature will always keep us on our toes.
The 2016 Cape winter did not see a lot of rainfall – about half the average – and it was also not exceptionally cold. We barely saw any snow on the mountains.
Spring started early which lead to an early bud burst and flowering. Thankfully we did not experience strong winds during this period, which helped with an even berry set. Seeing that we already experienced drought conditions during the berry formation stage, cell formation was also impacted, which meant small cells from the start.
In January, we received a little rain which changed the game and assisted the vine to grow without being too stressed. During the rest of the season we had beautiful cool evenings and mild day temperatures and this ensured a proper, even ripening process.
We started picking at the end of January and were very happy to see little to no rot; small berries with a lot of concentration, and great acids!
A Tasting Note From The Glass Of Nadia Barnard
This Chenin Blanc flaunts pronounced aromas of stone fruit like nectarine and pear, enhanced by subtle honey and floral nuances. The wine has a full and rich mouth feel; then it opens up in the middle to a mature and riper style, ending with fine acids that ensure the good structure.
The Numbers (20,296)
Alc: 12,5 %
RS: 5 g/l
TA: 5.1 g/l