Grape Experts give Paul Cluver the Thumbs-Up


Melvyn Minnaar
Melvyn Minnaar

Just when press-releases pertaining to wine appear to have descended into an abyss of tedium, vinous communication has taken a new turn by perking-up statements using quotes by famous wine writers. Paul Cluver Wines from Elgin sparked the innovation with a media release on its recent Sauvignon Blanc tasting.
,In a vertical tasting of six proven Paul Cluver Sauvignon Blanc vintages from 2003 to 2008 for the trade and media in Johannesburg and Cape Town, the uncontested favourite, says respected wine writer Angela Lloyd, was the 2007 vintage.?+¦?-¼?+«+ë?+¦???+½?+¦???+¦
,”It fully lives up to this heralded white wine vintage in its refinement and complexity. It seriously advises ‘don’t drink me now if you’d prefer something more interesting in a year or three’ – or more, I’d imagine,” she continues.
“The same and even more so, applies to the 2008, although inherently it shows richer expression and more flesh (as with the 2007 vintage, there’s a 4% Semillon addition), but still needs to shed the gawkiness of youth.”
,The second esteemed wine writer gracing the media statement is Melvyn Minnaar, who confesses to being critical about Sauvignon blanc wines, he having become disaffected by the high, rough,acidity of local wines and their simplicity.
,”Local producers have so much more to learn than to play for popularity (the grassy notes, mostly, and high acid)., Taking a cue from the best producers in the world whom I met at an international conference in Grax, Austria, recently, I hope for more complexity and body and style which only improves with some age.?+¦?-¼?+«+ë?+¦???+½?+¦???+¦
,”There are very few such wines in South Africa, and I admire Cluver winemaker Andries Burger’s restraint in his.?+¦?-¼?+«+ë?+¦???+½?+¦???+¦
,”There seemed to me to be a consistency in the Cluver wines, nicely,shown in the variances offered by vintage. In other words, there is a thread running though it (Elgin Sauvignon blanc, I suppose one can call it, characterised by a ‘mountain fynbos herbiness’), but expression of vintage is allowed.
,”I was intrigued by the 2003’s gewurz-rose petal aromatics. A second bottle was better than the somewhat harsh acidity of the first. Nicely drinkable. I enjoyed the 2006 as the most drinkable with good freshness, with the 2007 as the best wine of all, showing more structure, thanks to the dash of semillon. The 2008 may also get there, but seemed a little lean for me.”
,Angela Lloyd believes that “tastings such as these give invaluable insights; it would be good to think that, even vicariously, these notes will encourage wine lovers to appreciate sauvignons older than the current vintage and not demand wines, deserving time, almost as soon as the grapes have been snipped off the vine.”
Grapes for the six vintages range from plantings from 1999 to 2004, harvested in February and March. The wines all reflect complexity from various clones ?+¦-+???+¦-ú?-¦?+¦-ú?+¦+¦ the tropical fruits of the 316 and 317 and the French clones 159 and 242 and green fig coming from clone 11 with clone 215 offering a combination of all flavours.?+¦?-¼?+«+ë?+¦???+½?+¦???+¦
,”The 2009 vintage, only started at the end of February, is looking very promising, says Paul Cluver.

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