Pussy-whipped by Seven Flags

seven-flags-nv
I drove over the mountain looking for something easy. Okay, all these sexual innuendos concerning Pinot Noir must be getting a bit boring. But what to do when most Pinot producers themselves deploy a healthy amount of horny-sounding analogies when their beloved Burgundian grape is mentioned? Seeing as this is a family site, I won’t go into too much detail and all culprits shall remain nameless.
It can get ugly.
Anyway, I drove over the mountain to Elgin to meet this dishy item. Easy. Accessible. Fleshy. Aromatic. This would be the Paul Cluver,Seven Flags Pinot Noir. The new one that is. Last year the 2006 vintage was launched. Now we were going to jump between the thighs of (shit, sorry) of the 2007.
Now what, may followers of Paul Cluver ask, is the,Seven Flags? Hasn’t the Estate been making some tit (whoops..) Pinots for some time?
Sure. But this time around we are talking serious Pinot Noir. The cream da la cream.
Last year I bought a case of the 2006, which is so awesome I did not drink all of it within the first month, stashing two bottles away for further maturation. So I was dying to see what the 2007 was going to do for me.
So we arrived on the farm. Neil Pendock ?+¦-+???+¦-ú?-¦?+¦-ú?+¦+¦ my designated navigator ?+¦-+???+¦-ú?-¦?+¦-ú?+¦+¦ and I were a bit early for the function. This gave us some time to get into some juicy industry talk with Paul Cluver Snr, who recently handed over the baton as chairperson of Wines of South Africa to Johann Krige. We also sipped some new brandy that is popping out of the copper still and spoke about the weather.
The guests started arriving, and things were swanky. A white Bedouin tent covered tables adorned with smart linen. There was some music and we sipped Chardonnay and mulled about, although there was not much action on the babe front for launching a sexy wine like this. Fortunately, as things tend to do at these occasions, one of the few honeys who made the trek out to Elgin sat at my table. Allan Mullins, who was next to me, was also chuffed, I tell you.
In any event, the wine followed the starters, so this gives me the opportunity to slip into (o hell, censors where are you!) PR mode and tell you what the wine is about.
Pause, thus for PR blurb:
This wine is the ultimate expression of the estate’s terrior and the culmination of dedication to the practice of viticulture and wine making.A specific section in our oldest Pinot Noir vineyard, planted to the Burgundian 113 clone in 1991, consistently delivers superlative Pinot Noir. This is ascribed to the balanced growth, the crop-to-leaf-surface area and also the smaller-than-average berry size. This vineyard section was identified for the production of the Seven Flags Pinot Noir in 2006 and in 2007.
In the cellar, the aim is to achieve the best possible balance; between fruit, acidity, structure and texture.
After extended cold maceration, fermentation starts naturally. The wine is then inoculated with a Burgundian isolated yeast which is known for its ability to produce the typical Pinot Noir aroma, while retaining the delicate colour of Pinot Noir. A combination of punch-down and pump-over, 3 times a day, is done to ensure optimal colour extraction., All the while, the wine and must is assessed to ensure that the grapes are not over-worked. After fermentation, the wine is racked to barrel for malolactic fermentation and remains on the lees for 11 months., To confirm the superiority of the vineyard site, the ear-marked Seven Flags Pinot noir barrels are tasted blind in conjunction with all the other Paul Cluver Pinot Noir barrels in the cellar. The best barrels of the site are then selected and blended to form the Seven Flags Pinot Noir. The 2007 vintage comprises 38% new wood and 62% third-fill barrels ?+¦-+???+¦-ú?-¦?+¦-ú?+¦+¦ from two Burgundian coopers.
(end PR blurb)
Now you know. So what does it taste like? (The press release mentioned “tightness” and “appealing”, which is just a bit risqu+¬.)
Because less new wood was used than the previous 7 Flags, the wine is silky and devoid of any muscularity in the backbone. It is pure Volnay in the supple fleshiness, the kind of supple fleshiness that would make a bishop kick a hole in a stained glass window. However, there is an early leanness in the wine, an almost virginal (I give up) purity that reminds me of the wines from the Echevronne region in the High Burgundy. If Andries Burger, the wine maker, has done things correctly, this leanness between fore- and rear-palate is going to flesh out over the next few years. A sweet-savouriness will appear, edging the wine more into the powerful realm expressed by the Vosne-Roman+¬e region, which is going to be terribly exciting. Seeing this happen will be a first for a South African Pinot Noir.
Easy as it was in the first few sips, the wine gains body the more you drink of it. (And seeing there were no freebies to take home, we really let rip!) By the seventh glass it really was stronger, more resilient than those first few sensual sips. Pendock was also going great guns with this wine, and I just hoped that he was going to be sober enough to navigate us back to Cape Town.
A beaut of wine, and a real lush. I looked at the bottle and almost asked it if it took American Express and permitted kissing. But I just bought a case, instead.
Emile Joubert

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