“If Cab is king, then Chardonnay is queen,” says Kevin Arnold, cellarmaster at Waterford in Stellenbosch. “Our Chardonnay comes from a single vineyard planted in 1988 and needs a lot of nursing. It’s slow ripening which contributes to depth of flavour,” adds winemaker Mark le Roux.
Yesterday a vertical from 2008 to 2012, the approach to winemaking much the same from year to year: natural fermentation, no added acid, no malolactic fermentation, and six to eight months in barrel, a third each first, second and third-fill.
The line-up taken as a whole, I thought the wines were remarkable for their understatement, acidities in particular noticeably softer than many other local examples of Chardonnay.
Wine of the day for me was the 2010. Citrus and some white flower blossom. Medium bodied with clean, pure fruit, fresh but not obtrusive acidity and nicely judged oak. Easily drinkable now but should reward another two years of bottle maturation.