Wim Truter, who makes Nederburg’s white wines under cellar master Razvan Macici, relishes the versatility of his job, making such a varied range across so many styles, but then he is used to being stretched in new directions.
After a four-year stint, first as Nederburg’s assistant red winemaker and then as its fully-fledged red winemaker, he left his position in 2009. The move to Angers in France was to complete a prestigious Erasmus Mundus international Masters programme in vintage, vine, wine and terroir management. The course took him to Italy and Spain too.
Earlier in his career, this University of Stellenbosch graduate also worked vintages in Australia (McLaren Vale in South Australia and the Margaret River in Western Australia), the US (California’s Sonoma County) and France (Rhône valley).
How does it feel being back and switching from reds to whites? “It’s been a very interesting process for me and it has certainly helped in making some of our wood-aged whites like The Anchorman Chenin Blanc and Young Airhawk Sauvignon Blanc,” he says, referring to Nederburg’s recently released Heritage Heroes ensemble of limited-edition gourmet wines.
“For the most part, when it comes to the whites, the intensity of the focus happens at the beginning of the process as you try to capture their youthful, fresh and fruity characters. You also get to experience the results relatively quickly, whereas in the case of reds, it can obviously take several years.”
He is particularly proud of the gold Veritas medal earned for the 2012 Winemaster’s Reserve Riesling, a variety that gives him great pleasure. “Perhaps it is because Rieslings are known for their longevity. I’ve enjoyed the challenge of striking the right balance between elegance, sugar and alcohol.
“Right now, I’m very excited by the potential of vineyards planted in a range of new areas, where we have seen some excellent early results. I’m also excited by the opportunity of working with Rhône whites.”
His involvement with a multi-tiered range made to cater to a wide spectrum of wine drinkers, extends him creatively and practically. The wines include popularly priced everyday drinking options with upfront fruit, those more classically styled, and still others intended for more specialty markets, including micro-cuvées. Wines are planned in the vineyards, with many of the vineyard management protocols and later, the cellar techniques, dictated by the end price to ensure that all wines offer fair value, regardless of the place they occupy in the multi-tiered range.
“Part of my Masters’ research focussed on trellising systems and their impact on grape profile. I’ve also done a stint in marketing. I find it fascinating to approach the making of a wine from so many different perspectives. From Foundation and the new 56HUNDRED tier to our Winemaster’s Reserve, Heritage Heroes, Ingenuity and Private Bin wines, it’s an invigorating and intensely motivating journey.
“Actually, in whatever I do, I find the more you immersed in it you are, the more interesting it becomes.”
At some stage, he would like to work a harvest in Germany, but he is also very keen to experience the vineyards of Georgia and Moldova. “There are so many autochthonous (indigenous) varietals growing in these regions that we’ve never heard of! I’d love to find out more.”
Those are dreams for another day in the far distant future, he says. “I’m having so much fun, working with such a great and talented team.”