About this WINE
Waterford Estate was established in 1998 with the intention of producing the very best wines in the country. The 120-hectare wine farm, nestled between the Simonsberg and Heldeberg mountain ranges, is a joint venture between Jeremy Ord and Kevin Arnold. Johannesburg-based Jeremy Ord made a fortune in information technology while Kevin Arnold established a reputation as one of South Africa's leading winemakers during his tenure at Rust en Vrede.
Kevin is now joined by the young and dynamic Mark le Roux (pictured). Mark started at Waterford working as an intern in the vineyards. Now as head winemaker, his involvement with the grapes and understanding of the specific plots on the farm is evident in the fresh, clean wines he is producing. The ripe and wonderfully balanced Chardonnay is much sought-after in South Africa and the Cabernet Sauvignon balances structure and ripeness.
Stellenbosch is South Africa’s best-known wine region, producing a wide variety of wines from leading estates, even though it accounts for less than 20 per cent of the country’s total production. Designated wards within the wine region are Jonkershoek Valley, Simonsberg-Stellenbosch, Bottelary, Devon Valley and Papegaaiberg.
At 17,500 hectares, Stellenbosch remains the Cape's most famous and important fine wine district, thanks to its proximity to Cape Town, to the cooling influences of False Bay, its mountainous (ie Helderberg, Simonsberg), granitic topography and its centres of learning such as Elsenburg Agricultural College.
Cabernet Sauvignon lends itself particularly well in blends with Merlot. This is actually the archetypal Bordeaux blend, though in different proportions in the sub-regions and sometimes topped up with Cabernet Franc, Malbec, and Petit Verdot.
In the Médoc and Graves the percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon in the blend can range from 95% (Mouton-Rothschild) to as low as 40%. It is particularly suited to the dry, warm, free- draining, gravel-rich soils and is responsible for the redolent cassis characteristics as well as the depth of colour, tannic structure and pronounced acidity of Médoc wines. However 100% Cabernet Sauvignon wines can be slightly hollow-tasting in the middle palate and Merlot with its generous, fleshy fruit flavours acts as a perfect foil by filling in this cavity.
In St-Emilion and Pomerol, the blends are Merlot dominated as Cabernet Sauvignon can struggle to ripen there - when it is included, it adds structure and body to the wine. Sassicaia is the most famous Bordeaux blend in Italy and has spawned many imitations, whereby the blend is now firmly established in the New World and particularly in California and Australia.
Neal Martin - 28/04/2017