The flagship blend of Waterford Estate is described as a novel creation in the South African wine industry. The winemaster of the farm, Kevin Arnold, spent many years conducting research, in his endeavour to create the perfect red blend. He discovered a passion for red wine production in Stellenbosch during the 1980s and 1990s. These years sparked an ambition to create a red blend that would exhibit the aroma of world-class wine.
This aim was supported by the design of Waterford Estate, that afforded the growth and production of numerous varietals. This presented the opportunity to conduct tests using various varietals. After extensive forethought, eleven grape varietals were selected to form the blend that Kevin Arnold had envisioned. The blend symbolizes his theory that Bordeaux varietals would serve as an ideal foundation for a pure and classically dry blend. This was achieved by combining the Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Malbec and Petit Verdot. The spicy elements of the wine were offered through the inclusion of Tempranillo and Mouvedre from Spain, Shiraz and Grenache from the south of France and Sangiovese and Barbera from Italy.
Three blends were developed in 2004 to assess the distinct, individual characteristics presented by each varietal. The progress of these blends was carefully monitored over several years. In 2007, the blends collectively formed the estate’s flagship blend, The Jem. This iconic wine was named after the owner of the estate, Jeremy Ord. The varietals create the fine balance, purity and smooth texture of this beloved wine. The master blend represents the growth of European varietals in South African soils and therefore marks a pioneering venture for the winemaking industry.
Get the full story by listening to a podcast, in which Cellar Master, Kevin Arnold recounts the details and challenges of creating the Jem.
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