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.
Chardonnay is the "Big Daddy" of white wine grapes and one of the most widely planted in the world. It is suited to a wide variety of soils, though it excels in soils with a high limestone content as found in Champagne, Chablis, and the Côte D`Or.
Burgundy is Chardonnay's spiritual home and the best White Burgundies are dry, rich, honeyed wines with marvellous poise, elegance and balance. They are unquestionably the finest dry white wines in the world. Chardonnay plays a crucial role in the Champagne blend, providing structure and finesse, and is the sole grape in Blanc de Blancs.
It is quantitatively important in California and Australia, is widely planted in Chile and South Africa, and is the second most widely planted grape in New Zealand. In warm climates Chardonnay has a tendency to develop very high sugar levels during the final stages of ripening and this can occur at the expense of acidity. Late picking is a common problem and can result in blowsy and flabby wines that lack structure and definition.
Recently in the New World, we have seen a move towards more elegant, better- balanced and less oak-driven Chardonnays, and this is to be welcomed.