A Chardonnay from an exceptional vintage producing one of its most refined white wines to date. This is the Chardonnay 2015, just released by Paul Cluver Wines, the Elgin estate that pioneered wine-making in the region and has built up a world-wide reputation for its Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Riesling wines.
“The vintage of 2015 saw a very healthy crop from a vintage during which we experienced our lowest night-time temperatures of the past nine years,” says Andries Burger, Paul Cluver Wines’ cellar master who is in the process of completing his 20th consecutive harvest at the helm. “Yields averaged 6,6 tons a hectare and grapes were picked between 21.8°-23.5° Brix at an average temperature of 15⁰ Celsius.”
Since introducing night-time harvesting in 2014, grapes reach the winery at daybreak in a state of peak freshness.
“I believe in a wild-ferment for the Paul Cluver Chardonnay, as over the years this has produced the style we are looking for,” says Burger. “Fresh and citrus, yes, but the wild-ferment gives the wine a layered complexity and that added depth Chardonnay lovers want.”
Fermentation took place in a selection of French oak barrels – 20% new, the rest a combination of 2nd, 3rd and 4th fill.
“To maintain zest and fruit purity, less lees stirring was done than in previous years. The wine remained on the lees for a total of nine months with no added sulphur. Only 10% of the wine went through natural malolactic fermentation, ensuring further freshness as well as tantalising acidity,” says Burger.
After extensive tasting of the various components, the wine was assembled from the best barrels, stabilised and prepared for bottling.
Burger describes the wine as: “Lots of buttered toast/ brioche on the nose with a distinctive citrus presence. Tangerine fruit and citrus blossom fragrances are apparent, with hints of vanilla pod and almond flakes, characteristics that follow through onto the palate. The fine, fresh acidity adds poise and focus to the wine.”
Paul Cluver Wines currently has 14.17 hectares planted to Chardonnay, equating to 17.9% of total plantings. Clones include 175, 270, 95 and 548. The first vines were planted in 1987 and the youngest blocks in 2010. The soil is predominantly decomposed Bokkeveld Shale with underlying clay layers of varying depths. Vine orientation is east/west on the south-east facing slopes and north/south on the south-south west facing slopes. Height above sea level ranges from 280 to 350 meters.
Alcohol: 13.02 %
Total Acidity: 7.1 g/l
Residual sugar:2.9 g/l