It was a cool, grey Friday in Elgin, and the spirit enlightened and heartened with the launch of the latest vintages of Paul Clüver Family Wines’ iconic Seven Flags range. A range comprising two wines, the event saw the release of our Seven Flags Pinot Noir 2020 and Seven Flags Chardonnay 2022.
The action began two hours before the guests, consisting of customers and media, arrived on the farm. From 10 am, South Africa’s best-known wine broadcaster Dan Nicholl was at Paul Clüver with his cameraman Ronaldo and producer Joanne to set up the live broadcast in the stylish wood-and-glass surrounds of our tasting room.
Before long, it was lights, camera and action as Dan started interviewing a few key individuals close to the brand, conveying heartfelt impressions of Paul Clüver Family Wines, Elgin and the revered Seven Flags wines introduced to the world on Friday, 27 October 2023.
Dr Paul Clüver, the pioneer of viticulture in Elgin, painted a fascinating background into his initial forays into planting vineyards on the fourth-generation De Rust Estate, the home of Paul Clüver Family Wines. Paul Jnr spoke of the incredible development in terms of winemaking and viticulture in Elgin – 36 years after the first vines were planted, Elgin has moved into the top echelons of South Africa’s premium wine spectrum, largely thanks to the focus on Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
And cellarmaster Andries Burger – the only winemaker Paul Clüver Family Wines has ever had! – went into detail about the new Seven Flags Pinot Noir 2020 and Chardonnay 2022. Modest as ever, Andries attributed the quality of the wines to the farm’s terroir: elevated cool-climate vineyards growing in soils of Bokkeveld shale and clay and an approach of minimum intervention in the cellar, “doing as little as possible” to ensure the fingerprint of the distinctive natural environment is captured in each wine.
Emile Joubert, a well-known South African wine writer who followed Andries in talking to Dan, quickly pointed out that Andries was modest. “They say wine is made in the vineyard, but a horse needs a jockey to win the Durban July horse race, and Andries is one of the most technically astute and scientific winemakers around.”
Wine-writers Fiona McDonald, freelance, and News 24’s Dalene Fourie were included among those whom Dan Nicholl interviewed, showing insight into Paul Clüver Family Wines and the Elgin region, as well as the superb expressions of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
The guests had then arrived, and it was off to the restaurant where Dan Nicholl led a panel discussion with Paul Jnr and Andries before celebrity chef Bertus Basson introduced the menu he had prepared for the day. Yellowtail ceviche and the most delicious beef fillet were a superb accompaniment to the citrus-led complexity of the Seven Flags Chardonnay and the bright berry with a touch of spice the Pinot Noir delivered.
By now, much merriment had descended on the room – wine, food and people providing a fitting welcome to two great wines from Paul Clüver Family Vineyards.