Pioneering Elgin producer Paul Clüver Family Wines confirmed its reputation as one of South Africa’s leading Chardonnay producers in winning two trophies at this year’s prestigious Trophy Wine Show with the Paul Clüver Estate Chardonnay 2020. The wine not only took the Trophy for Best Chardonnay, but also for Best White Wine on this year’s Trophy Show, as decided by the esteemed panel of local and international judges.
Known as South Africa’s most stringently judged wine competition, the Trophy Show – now in its 21st year – attracted 673 entries, with 20 Trophies and 29 Gold medals awarded by the esteemed judging panel.
Being named Best White Wine at this year’s Trophy Show follows on the international recognition Paul Clüver received at the recent Decanter World Wine Awards where its Seven Flags Chardonnay 2020 was one of only five South African wines to win a Platinum Award.
Andries Burger, Paul Clüver Family Wines cellarmaster, says the recognition for the winery’s Estate Chardonnay 2020 at the Trophy Show underscores the winery’s commitment to this Burgundian variety since pioneering Chardonnay in the cool-climate Elgin region in 1987.
“The result of this earlier work done by Dr Paul Clüver in establishing Chardonnay on our Elgin farm is that the cellar team has access to a broad spectrum of vines varying in age between five and 35 years,” says Burger. “Planted to Bokkeveld Shale soils with cool, water-retaining clay beds at between 280m and 350m above sea-level, our Chardonnay is a visceral expression of the unique Elgin geography. Being the basis of the making of any fine wine, the spectacular terroir allows Paul Clüver to present an individual offering to the South African Chardonnay palette.
“The fact that the Paul Clüver offering is one of distinction and quality has been underscored by this year’s showing at the Trophy Show with Trophies for Best Chardonnay and Best White Wine on show. These accolades are a true honour, coming at a time where South Africa is stepping to the fore as one of the world’s leading Chardonnay producers and as a Trophy Show entrant, Paul Clüver found ourselves in the company of brilliant wines. To rise to the top in this sector is very special and I accept this honour on behalf of our teams in the cellar and the vineyards, as well as the Clüver family who played such as vital role in getting Elgin onto the global wine map.”
In making the wine, the Chardonnay underwent a spontaneous wild ferment in French oak, of which 25% was new. After fermentation the wine remained on the lees for nine months, being stirred regularly to allow texture and palate-weight that complements the refined expression of Chardonnay fruit.
Burger says that the Paul Clüver Estate Chardonnay 2020 is classic Elgin terroir expression. “Although bone-dry with a residual sugar of 2g/l, the wine has enticing fruit notes which latch onto the lean minerality of a bright, fresh and life-affirming Chardonnay,” he says. “Site-specific fruit such as Elgin Chardonnay does not allow the winemaker to have a profound influence of style. Style is driven by terroir, which is immortal and has the final say.”
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