Western Cape’s hardy varietal

Waterkloof’s Paul Boutinot Backs Mourvèdre To Shine

Three years of extreme drought have taken their toll in The Western Cape, with South Africa vinifying one of its smallest harvests in living memory in 2019.

Nevertheless, Waterkloof Custodian Paul Boutinot believes that Mourvèdre – a wind, heat and drought-resistant varietal could play a key role in the country’s fine winemaking future. “This wonderful grape may never be a big player in the mass-produced sector of South Africa’s wine industry,” he said. “But the same could be said of Provence where more and more rosés contain less and less Mourvèdre and are now instead bulked out with fruity, high-yielding Cinsault. Mourvèdre yields relatively low, but the resulting wines are wild, age-worthy and lean more towards savoury, rather than fruit-driven flavours. These are precisely the characteristics that we seek.”

With 9.5ha on Waterkloof, Mourvèdre is the most planted red varietal on Boutinot’s organic certified farm and all its bush-vines are worked by a team of six Percheron horses. According to Boutinot: “When we determined what to plant here, market trends did not come into our reckoning. First and foremost, Mourvèdre suits the particularities of our site. The few truly fine renditions of this varietal are grown by the sea. It loves maritime breezes and Waterkloof is just 4km from The Atlantic. Most pertinently, given expected future weather patterns, it is also a hardy, heat and drought resistant varietal.” Initially, all of Waterkloof’s Mourvèdre grapes were used to make their Circumstance Cape Coral Rosé, which has been lauded by Jancis Robinson MW as comparable to the great Domaine Tempier Rosé of Bandol. However, in 2015, a specific vineyard parcel was singled out as being capable of producing ve barrels of red wine. The first two vintages were tightly allocated, so the 2017 will be the first to be showcased at an international wine fair and will make its debut at Vinexpo World of Organic Wine (WOW!).

Hall 1 / Stand W153