Thursday, September 10, 2015

A wonderful trade tasting day at Waterford, Stellenbosch

Waterford Estate is one of the most elegant wine farms in the Cape. It is owned jointly by Jeremy Ord and his partner, Cellarmaster Kevin Arnold. To quote from their web site: “The winery was designed by architect Alex Walker and created from quarried local bedrock, stones from the vineyard and timber grown on the estate. It was styled along the engaging terracotta design of the classic Bordeaux chateaux of France”. The centre piece of the magnificent courtyard is the Waterford fountain which features on their wine label. It is a very welcoming place and we love to visit. The tasting room is more like a huge comfortable lounge in a luxury country hotel, especially when you can collapse into the soft sofas by the roaring fireplace on a chilly Spring day, with a glass of the Kevin Arnold Shiraz in your hand. This week, they held their trade open day with lots and lots of different ways to taste their wines. We loved it
A warm welcome when our shuttle from Cape Town arrived
You walk through the clementine orchard to get to the portico
With glasses of Waterford MCC we learn of the proceedings of the day from Jaap Pijl and put our name down for a barrel tasting in the cellar and then a blind tasting competition with their unusual varieties
Bouquets of flowers from the estate were made for every guest
And if you picked the right balloon there might be a prize in yours. We both did and each won a half bottle of The Jem, their flagship red blend
The tasting room had been bedecked with flowers and plants, which made it lovely and green and perfumed.
The table showing the two soil varieties found on Waterford: Hutton and Clovelly, separated by Koffieklip stones. From the right hand side, it shows the depths of the soils and how they change as they get deeper. The soil on the left ends in heavy clay, but starts with lots of stones which are good for vine cultivation. There was also a table showing some of the fynbos growing on Waterford. Lynne spent a long time speaking to the viticulturist David van Schalkwyk, who explained lots of things very clearly
A special table with a vertical tasting of The Jem, their flagship red Bordeaux blend. So interesting to see which years are best and to see how they have developed
Because of the rain all the tasting tables were set up on the central courtyard cloister
Doing a barrel tasting with the winemaker Mark le Roux. He showed us how a wine can be affected by the judicious addition of wood. Waterford believe in using wood gently
Mark had doctored the wine. One sample came from the barrel, the next had more wood added and the third one a lot of wood added. It does add structure but it also adds huge tannins and can add too much bitterness
The Barrel Cellar
Marcella James, visiting from South Carolina, came to Waterford to taste the wines and found that Reece Edwards, studying Engineering at Stellenbosch and helping at Waterford was also from that state in the USA
Time to do the blind tasting competition
Waterford have five fairly unusual grapes: Grenache, Mourvedre, Tempranillo, Sangiovese and Barbera, which are used in their blends. We were given three of these randomly to identify blind
Kevin Arnold with Matthew, who guided the tasting competition
We tried to identify the varietals by colour, smell and taste
The varietals they grow. Lynne correctly identified two of them and won a half bottle of The Jem
Time for lunch. Cooked on a barbeque in the courtyard we had chicken or beef burgers, chips and crisp onion rings and buns
The lunch table - all the 'fixings' for your own perfect version of a hamburger
We could add all the usual accoutrement from a huge choice and there were three cream sauces: herb and garlic, cheese and, of course, mushroom. Delicious
Waiting for his share...
A lovely smile from Bereinice Engelbrecht and a beautiful array of flower
Lynne enjoying the Library wines
The huge array of delicious desserts
Great atmosphere and a great ending to a lovely informative day
Thank you Waterford team
© John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus 2015
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