Waterkloof Tasting & Supper

Hosted by Paul Boutinot Owner/Winemaker at Waterkloof, South Africa, in conjunction with Waterkloof's Cellar Master/Winemaker Werner Engelbrecht, via Skype

Paul Boutinot has made wine all over the world and had been on the lookout for a property to buy for many years before he bought the Waterkloof Estate in South Africa. He immediately converted the farm to Bio Dynamic principles to produce natural wines. Not the much hyped natural wines, but wines that are made from what nature gives you. He has revitalised the soils, replanted where necessary and built a winery which allows him to make wine a nature intended! 

Paul Boutinot agreed to come and put on a unique tasting for us, firstly he brought along the component parts of his 2011 Circle of Life Red and then brought along his Waterkloof 2009 Sauvignon Blanc in Cork Closure and Screwcap closure.

Circle of Life Red 2011
Once connected via Skype to Werner in the Waterklloof barrel room we started the tasting. Werner lead the tasting from SA, ably supported by Paul in the room. Glass one turned out to be Syrah, herby spicy black fruits, quite dry/minerally, quite peppery.

Glass two, was Merlot. Riper and more voluptuous dark fruits, very appealing richness, supple tannins, but still quite obvious, good length.

Glass three was a blend of 80% Cabernet Sauvignon and 20% Petit Verdot, much chunkier and rustic than the previous two glasses, a wine that would certainly add structure to any blend.

Then we poured the final blend of Circle of Life 2011 red, a world exclusive for Amps Fine Wines a preview of a wine that will not be available for 2 years! The wine will be finally bottled later this year.Intense dark berry fruits, intermingled with spice and herbs, richness on the palate and great concentration, nice balance and a long finish. This is going to be very good!

After an hour in the glass, the wine became rich, concentrated and almost delicious! Quite extraordinary.

Screw Cap V Cork Closure Tasting

Paul has been experimenting with alternative closures for many years and as Waterkloof Sauvignon is his flagship wine he has naturally carried on these experiments and kindly brought along 6 bottles of the 2009 vintage, 3 under cork and 3 bottles under a screw cap closure. Each wine was opened just before pouring, normally Paul decants these wines 2-3 hours before serving.
Screwcap closure
Concentrated nose of green citrus fruits, quite herbaceous and edgy. The palate continued with a gooseberry/greengage flavours, very full, yet considering it is a 2009 Sauvignon Blanc, not very evolved. Great balance and a long mouth filling finish of citrus fruits.

Cork Closure

Green fruits again on the nose, but this time with hints of something more tropical. Much rounder and less edgy and more developed, creamier on the palate, broader and more interesting in the mouth and again a long balanced finish.


It was striking how different the two wines were, considering they were from the same vintage, made the same way, all that changed was the closure. This difference was obvious to all tasters, not just the experienced palates. What was extraordinary was how every 10 minutes these wines changed in the glass, the nose and palate was constantly changing. It was very exciting to see how they evolved, at times they were almost identical, but the next time you nosed/tasted them they were very different wines again.

This begs the question, the wine might be at its best decanted 2 hours before, but “why miss all these exciting changes that are taking place in the wine”?

After 90 minutes in the glass, the screwcap closure was still more edgy, a little green still, but a great glass of wine. The cork glass was rounder, possibly even tasting a tad sweeter because of the tropical flavours it was offering and it was certainly more complex.

The vote for the favourite wine was a massive win for cork, 90% of the room voted for it. Personally I was very surprised by this as I expected the screwcap to win easily as I have always found in the past when wine makers have allowed me to taste their experiments, the screwcap wine to be fresher, brighter and more vibrant, therefore more interesting. Not the case here. The debate will continue!

Circle of Life White 2010

This was served with Tuna and noodles, is a blend of five grape varieties, with a portion seeing some oak ageing. Bright appealing nose, with round ripe fruits, lovely mouth feel and a long balanced finish. This is a very seductive wine with bags of drinkability or drink me written all over it!

Circle of Life Red 2009

This was served with lamb in a rich sauce. Upfront dark fruits intermingled with herbs and spice, slightly brooding almost
rustic character, but with supple tannins. Long dark fruits with a touch ofspice on the finish. This wine hads bags of personality if lacking the seductiveness of the white!

A fabulous tasting, thank you Paul Boutinot and Werner Engelbrecht.
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Posted on 11/06/2012
by Philip
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