CIRCLE OF LIFE RED 2019

£12.25

Stellenbosch. Fresh, riper, fruity and elegant. A lovely blend of Syrah (26%), Petit Verdot (26%), Cabernet Franc (24%) and Merlot (24%). Vegan and biodynamic. Oaked.

13 in stock

SKU: 23544 Categories: ,

Description

A lovely red blend brimming with character that really expresses Waterkloof’s ideology of wine production. Fresh, ripe, fruity and elegant, really well balanced. Dense black fruit elevated by lighter red berries with some herby notes and a refreshing finish.

GRAPE Syrah, Petit Verdot, Merlot CLOSURE Screwcap
REGION Stellenbosch VEGETARIAN Yes
VINTAGE 2019 VEGAN Yes
ABV 13.5% ORGANIC No

 

DRY     *________|________|________|________|     SWEET

LIGHT     |________|________*________|________|     FULL BODIED

NO OAK     |________*________|________|________|     OAKY

 

 

 

Additional information

Waterkloof

In 1993 Paul Boutinot commenced his search for a vineyard site with the potential to produce truly fine wine with a defining sense of origin. The classic areas, capable of growing naturally balanced grapes such as the Cote d’Or, Chablis, Paulliac, Barolo, etc. were either unavailable or unattainable (rich men’s toys), so he had to find a new classic. It took ten years to narrow the search down to a small area on the south-facing slopes of the Schapenberg, overlooking False Bay in the Cape. As soon as he was led up a steep ravine opening out into a hidden amphitheatre of potential, all his experience and intuition told him: THIS IS IT! Waterkloof was born, and the hard work began.

Schapenberg (Afikaans for ‘Sheep Mountain’) nestles almost in the centre of the embrace of the Hottentots-Holland and Helderberg mountains. Its highest point is 300 metres above sea level and a scant four kilometres from the False Bay coast.

It used to be the hill where former Cape Colony Governor Willem Adriaan van der Stel grazed his sheep, but it was also his lookout post to identify visiting ships, allowing him to race into town and sell his produce before the competition could. These days however, more and more vineyards are being planted in the area, already known as being the coolest in the Stellenbosch wine growing region.

Although grapes were planted on Waterkloof since the early 1970s, the production of fine wines originated when the farm was planted, with some of the best material available, in the mid-1990s. Paul Boutinot took over the property just before the 2004 harvest, but the first vintage bottled under the Waterkloof name was from the 2005 harvest.

Soon after, Paul was joined by Cellarmaster Werner Engelbrecht and Farm Manager Christiaan Loots and following the wisdom of the Old World experience and soil surveys, they determined which varieties, rootstocks and trellis systems to use. A major new planting and replanting exercise was completed by 2008, with vineyard now covering 53 hectares of the 100 hectare farm.

From the outset, it was decided that the other half of the farm should be set aside to preserve the rare and abundant natural vegetation, fauna and flora (fynbos) situated on the property and in May 2008, Waterkloof was awarded Champion Status by the World Wildlife Fund’s Biodiversity & Wine Initiative, for its enterprising endeavours in this regard (click here to find out more).

Following logically from these efforts, and as a result of Paul’s experience visiting vineyards and tasting from a range of biodynamic & organic wine producers around the world, it was then decided in 2008 to begin the conversion of Waterkloof to a fully-fledged organic farm with integrated biological farming.

Finally, in 2009 a state-of-the-art gravitational cellar, tasting room and restaurant was constructed on the Schapenberg and Waterkloof began exporting its unique wines around the world.

Production

It’s Really All About the Vineyards

Circle of Life tells the story of Waterkloof: A once conventionally farmed vineyard with great potential, that – since Paul Boutinot took over the property – has been transformed into a living, breathing organic and regenerative vineyard by Farm Manager Christiaan Loots and his team.

On Waterkloof we farm organic and biological, producing our own compost and microbial preparations. We then distribute these by utilising our draught horses, as opposed to heavy tractors. These practices ensure loose soil with more life, where the vines can spread their roots as they please; taking up everything they need from our rich and complex earth. We believe that regenerative farming helps to produce honest, terroir-driven wines that are truly made in the vineyard

Our focus has always been to get a better understanding of Waterkloof and the individual characters of its vineyard blocks. The Circumstance range allows these individual blocks and varietals to be expressed. Conversely, our objective with Circle of Life has been to produce two blends that encapsulate all the varying terroir characteristics and grape varietals found on Waterkloof. Thus, rather than being constrained by a traditional blending style, for example a Bordeaux or Rhône blend, we have instead produced two wines that are not driven by varietal, nor a specific parcel of the vineyard. Instead, they are a true reflection of the totality, philosophy and specificity of Waterkloof.

A Gentle Hand

We harvest according to taste and find it essential to spend a lot of time in the vineyards to see how the flavours develop. All grapes were hand-picked into small picking crates, sorted in the vineyards and brought to the cellar by our horses. To ensure that only the best berries are used, we sorted all grapes by hand in the winery as well. These were then placed into our wooden fermenters via our gravity system. The Rhône varietals were whole-bunch fermented and the Bordeaux varietals were de-stemmed. The fermentation started naturally with yeast present on the grapes to enhance the flavours prevailing in the vineyards. We also don’t add any sulphur at this point. Just pure grapes in our wooden fermenters.

Throughout the fermentation process, we did soft punch downs twice a day to gently and slowly extract the tannins. The wines spent around 30 days on the skins, during which time the tannins were able to soften. This duration is dependent on taste.

After the maceration time on the skins, we ran the wine down via gravity – still no pumping. The grape skins also fell through into the basket press and were softly pressed to gently extract the last bit of wine, aroma and colour from the skins.

The varietals were aged separately in French oak. 600L Barrels for the Rhône varietal and 225L barrels for the Bordeaux varietals. Only 10 % were new barrels, to avoid dominance of wood aromatics in our wines.

After 12 months in barrel, we blended the Cabernet Franc (38%), Merlot (28%), Syrah (18%) and Petit Verdot (16%) together and kept it for another 5 months in our wooden fermenters. This wine is unfined and gently filtered.

And A Few Prayers to Mother Nature: The 2019/2020 Growing Season

For the past 4 years, the Western Cape has been experiencing a severe drought. During winter of 2019, we did welcome more rain than in the previous two years and were very blessed to receive over 500mm.

Budburst and flowering were earlier than usual, starting with the first buds at the beginning of September. Towards the end of the flowering season there was some rain, but fruit set was luckily still even.

The remainder of the growing season was ideal, with enough sunlight and not too much rain – which could lead to mildew. At the end of January, the south easterly wind did howl through the property, which led to a lot of leaf loss and even that of some grape bunches. Not much could be done to mitigate this, except to spend more time in the vineyards and divide the blocks into different sectors in preparation for harvest. We first removed fruit in risk of sunburn and monitored each block very closely.

Our 2020 harvest commenced on the 29th of January and reached full intensity from the 5th of February. The harvest conditions were positive with enough sun, not too much rain and only a few very hot days. The whites came in over a period of about 2 weeks, with the reds following immediately after – this made harvest logistics a little easier. All harvest dates were determined by taste in the vineyard, waiting to achieve the ideal balance between phenolic ripeness, potential alcohol and acid. In terms of yield, there was some variation but overall, we saw an increase of approximately 10% on 2019.

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