Paul Cluver Wines, the pioneering Elgin wine estate owned and managed by the Clüver family, was one of the leading performers at this year’s Top 100 SA Wines/National Wine Challenge, delivering two Grand Cru National Champion Wines with three Top 100 spots. The Paul Cluver Dry Encounter Riesling 2015 and the estate’s icon Seven Flags Pinot Noir 2013 took Grand Cru Best in Class awards and Top 100 slots, while the Paul Cluver Chardonnay 2015 was also included in the list of South Africa’s Top 100 wines.
In the National Wine Challenge side of the competition, Paul Cluver was awarded Double Gold Awards for the Noble Late Harvest 2014 as well as its Close Encounter Riesling 2015.
Paul Cluver also won a spot in the Top Five for the Vineyard Consistency Award, having had a total of 20 wines in the Top 100 SA Wines over the past six years, while its Chardonnay took the Wine Consistency Award, having achieved Top 100 status over six consecutive years.
Cellarmaster Andries Burger says the results exceeded his wildest expectations. “To see Top 100 recognition for the three varieties our Elgin estate focusses on, recognises the vision of Dr Paul Clüver and everyone who had the vision to create the Elgin Wine Valley 30 years ago,” he says.
“Riesling, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir were among the first varieties to be planted on Paul Cluver Estate in the late 1980’s, largely on an experimental basis. Now, almost three decades later the cool climate terroir has proven Elgin to be one of South Africa’s most unique and attractive wine regions for fine winemaking. This is underscored by the recognition at this year’s Top 100/National Wine Awards and is a tribute to all parties involved – the visionary experimentalists, the viticulturists and the wine-making teams who had the task of doing justice to Elgin fruit by making wines worthy of this most magical place with its extraordinary vineyard sites.”
Burger said he hoped that South Africa’s Riesling category would muster more recognition as a variety as cool climate regions, such as Elgin, have shown that the country is capable of producing world-class Rieslings. Last year, Paul Cluver delivered the Riesling adjudged to be the Best in the World at the International Wine Challenge.
However, it is Pinot Noir that holds a special Place in Burger’s heart and he cannot contain his excitement at this year’s Grand Cru Best in Class Award for the Seven Flags Pinot Noir 2013.
“Despite having 20 harvests under my belt at Paul Cluver, Pinot Noir demands a lifetime of commitment and focus,” he says. “With the Seven Flags Pinot Noir 2013 - our top Pinot Noir offering - I feel for the first time that the door to creating a legendary wine is opening. And at Paul Cluver Wines we are beginning to see the destination we have in mind, and that is to make a Pinot Noir that will establish South Africa as being one of the finest addresses anywhere for wines made from this, the Holy Grail of wine grapes.”