Winelovers who watch their budgets – and that surely applies to most of us – no doubt know the fine wines of Waterkloof, as well as that striking building housing gourmet restaurant and cellar on the slopes of the Schapenberg high above the azure waters of False Bay. But while they have savoured them on special occasions, comparatively few are likely to enjoy them as regularly as they would like.
How many, I wonder, know of the range called False Bay, a sister brand of Waterkloof estate wines, but separate to the extent that they are listed on their own in the Platter guide. They are not new, but I think that talented cellarmaster Nadia Barnard has taken the range up a notch or three, to the point where those sampled recently are on a par with some Waterkloof labels, such as the Seriously Cool duo
Barnard says that they have found better sources for the grapes used in the range and have marked the improvement with new labels that are both attractive and informative: The chenin blanc is adorned with a snail to accompany its name Slow Chenin Blanc 2017. The back label expands on the traditional methods used , where the fruit from old vines is fermented with wild yeasts found naturally on the grapes and that the winemaking process takes a least six months.
The grapes were sourced from three bushvine vineyards, one 40-year-old from the Swartland, the other two from mature Stellenbosch vines.
The result is quite delicious, a chenin whose fragrant aromas envelop one on unscrewing, followed by stone fruit flavours on the palate. Its elegant, there’s old vine structure lurking there, all balanced nicely by a welcome freshness.
he Old School syrah 2017 also impresses hugely. The only wine in the range that has alcohol levels as high as 14% this was sourced from two Stellenbosch vineyards, one in granite, planted in 2000 and the other in sandstone in 2005. Given the same attention and using the same methods as all the wines in this portfolio, there is plenty of fruit, a little white pepper and smooth and accessible tannins.
The rest of the range consists of the Windswept sauvignon blanc 2017, Crystalline chardonnay 2017, a Whole Bunch 2017 rosé sourced from cinsaut and mourvèdre anda Bush Vine pinotage 2014,
Owner Paul Boutinot has been on a mission to find and rescue old, under-appreciated vineyards with potential since 1994, in order to transform their fruit into wines made with minimal intervention, using wild yeast sans added. acid... Trendy now, but not then !
Waterkloof estate is one of the Cape’s prized showcases, from the sustainable farm, a conservation champion which achieved fully certified organic and biodynamic status 4 years ago, to its cheese tastings, fine Gallic dining, walking tours, horse riding, even an art collection to contemplate – and a range of quality wines, this one offering extraordinary value for money. All the False Bay wines retail at R58.and are widely available from small retail outlets.