IT’S REALLY ALL ABOUT THE VINEYARDS
Waterkloof has been organic since 2007, we are now on 15 years of working towards chemical free soils. The soil is looser, full of life and smells like seriously good dirt.
We use organic and regenerative methods based on Old World, sustainable practices in our vineyards to ensure that the vines are nourished and in balance. We search for natural alternatives to fight everyday problems in the vineyard and we keep them 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 four 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 17 years old. Production was approximately 2t/ha.
A GENTLE HAND
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 in the bottle. To achieve this, all grapes are carefully hand-picked and then brought into the cellar by our horses. They are then sorted and whole- bunch pressed in our small basket press so that we extract the juice in the gentlest way possible. The juice is then settled for 24 hours without the use of enzymes.
Only naturally present wild yeast on the grapes is used to ferment the juice. This leads to a longer fermentation process with a slow release of aromas and a more structured palate. The wine was fermented in a 600L barrel and left on the gross lees for 12 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. The wine was lightly filtered and bottled by hand and only three barrels were produced.
AND A FEW PRAYERS TO MOTHER NATURE: THE 2021/2022 GROWING SEASON
A cool season with moderate weather conditions during the 2022 harvest. This gave the vine the opportunity to reach full phenolic ripeness and develop complex flavours.
The current harvest quality is dependent on the previous Winter conditions. The 2021 Winter started early and saw proper leaf fall during the month of May. The rest of the Winter was ideal and cold but we still did not have enough rain on the farm.
On the Waterkloof farm we decide to focus on a minimum tilling approach to try and build up the natural carbon percentage in the soil. Christiaan, our farm manager, started putting chipped plant cuttings down in between the vines going 30 to 40 cm high. Over this he would spray earth worm teas which will break the plant material down into a carbon source.
The legume and wild oats cover crop will only be rolled flat- only cleaning in between the vines with the aim of preserving the carbon in the soil and increasing the water holding capacity.
Due to a cold Spring budding was delayed by 2 weeks on average. Once flowering started the vine caught up and was only about 5 days later than the average year.
Luckily during flowering, we did not see strong winds and had an even berry set in the area. From December on the vine’s growth was accelerated by the warmer growing conditions. We had a few heat peaks in December and in January.
As far as I remember this was one of the longest harvests! We started getting into full swing from around the second week of February and received our last grapes in on the 23rd of March. The quality looks good- we saw little rot and reached proper phenolic ripeness at lower sugar levels leading to fresher wines with slightly lower alcohols.
TASTING NOTES FROM THE GLASS OF NADIA LANGENEGGER
This wine shows lovely floral notes, fennel, hints of lime, honey and a distinct note of minerality and soft oak notes. A rich wine with many layers and a long lingering finish. It is the perfect match for a few dishes – I recommend enjoying it with roasted chicken.
Alc: 13.5 %
RS: 4.8 g/L
TA: 5.2 g/L