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 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 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. 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 after which we left the wine in the eggs to develop more complexity. Only a light filtration was used prior to bottling.
And A Few Prayers To Mother Nature- 2015/16 Growing Season
The Cape did not experience a very cold winter in 2015, with near perfect days lingering at 20°C. The evenings were cold but not excessively so. We also experienced the driest winter to date with half the normal rainfall.
Budburst took place at the beginning of September which was definitely earlier than usual. It was a proper spring with lots of sun and warm temperatures.
We started picking a week earlier than last year (which was already early). A lot of the producers were significantly down on crop yield (some even up to 50%). Fortunately, our biodynamic vines have a deep root system (approximately six metres deep), compared to conventional vineyards (digging only one meter deep) and we were not down on yield by too much.
A Tasting Note From The Glass Of Nadia Barnard
The Chenin Blanc flaunts pronounced aromas of stone fruit like nectarine and pear. The start of the wine is fresh and fruity; then it opens up in the middle to a mature and riper style, ending with fine acids that ensure the good structure.
Alc: 13,5 %
RS: 2.6 g/l
TA: 4.5 g/l