We were delighted to welcome Andries Burger, winemaker at Paul Cluver Wines, Elgin , South Africa, to our offices yesterday morning. Like most winemakers that visit, once through the door we immediately took the opportunity to put him in front of a video camera for website tasting notes and unlike many who just ‘freeze’ at the sight of a camera, Andries was a dab hand and a natural at talking. These videos will be shown in a week or so time.
The range of Paul Cluver Wines consists of :
Sauvignon Blanc : This is a deliciously fresh, very pale Sauvignon with 8% Semillon added to give mid-palate creaminess. The grapes come from 6 different vineyard sites, some at low lying sites (300-350m) and two from higher vineyards (500m). The difference in picking time can be as much as three weeks due to the much slower ripening of the grapes at higher altitude. With a reduced time of picking to processing, the resulting wine is as fresh as it possibly can be. What raises this Sauvignon over many others is the vein of minerality that runs through the wine bringing it into the style of top class Loire. This minerality defines all the Cluver wines, making the tongue ‘salivate’ and making you want another sip….and another sip..
Next the Riesling: Paul Cluver Wines are the biggest private producers of Riesling. With only 8% residual sugar this is a deliciously dry Riesling with a lime fresh nose and a soft, mouthfilling, lean and elegant palate. Perfect with spicy food. In fact all the Cluver wines are ‘food’ wines – which makes them so approachable and good value.
Chardonnay: Andries Burger’s favourite and I can see why. Creamy butterscotch on the nose, white stone peach, citrus and a lovely toastiness on the palate coming from 30% natural fermentation (very slow fermentation) in new oak. Considering Chardonnay grapes were officially first planted in South Africa in 1982, the Cluver Chardonnay vineyards date back to 1987, producing a seriously complex, buttery, toasty, fruity wine.
Gewurztraminer: Only 12% and full of lychee lime aromas. So aromatic of rose petals and turkish delight – honestly ! Yet it has that Cluver streak of mineral through the wine keeping it fresh rather than cloying and lively rather than flabby. Wonderful with asian spices.
Pinot Noir: Unusually a very light coloured Pinot but with so much flavour it’s hard to guess from just looking at the wine. This is a classic Pinot with deep red summer strawberry fruits and iron like minerality.
Seven Flags Pinot Noir: Their ‘top’ Pinot Noir. The name coming from the 7 flags on the family crest. This is made from selective barrels and is only made when there have been enough ‘sunshine hours’ to give the depth and fruitiness for this ‘cru’. The grapes are picked from their oldest Pinot vineyard, a block of just 4ha so the wine is very limited in quantity. Paul Cluver says this is the ultimate expression of Pinot noir from the estate’s terroir. “A barrel and vineyard selection, which brings together in one wine, everything that the family believes about wine-making “. For the Pinotphiles !
Last but not least, the Noble Late Harvest Riesling: Packed with apricot, spice and honey characteristics on the nose. The mouth feel is full and impressively rich but with superb balance, the result of elegant Riesling acidity. The aftertaste seems to linger forever. This wine will gain complexity after 2 to 5 years in the bottle. The perfect way to end a meal, or enjoy with flavourful cheeses.
All these wines are extremely good value and you can find them HERE