Paul Cluver - Village Pinot Noir, Elgin, South Africa (2020)
A lovely pinot with herbal notes, minerality, violets and slightly richer red fruit than you would find in Burgundy, otherwise a similar wine with pretty aromatics and an elegant frame.
Elgin is the coolest growing region in South Africa, with temperatures rarely
rising above 30°C during the growing season. With only 800 ha. under vine, it is also one of the smallest and least planted, as the rocky terrain, cool temperatures and low rainfall make growing grapes a challenging endeavour.
Sitting amongst the Hottentot-Holland mountain range, the soils are a mixture of sandstone, decomposed shale, gravel and clay. Due to the precipitous diurnal temperature drops, viticulturists have eschewed the traditional red Bordeaux varieties favoured throughout most of South Africa, planting instead delicate Pinot Noir and altitude-loving Syrah. The most widely-planted white is Sauvignon Blanc, but the future of the region lies in Chardonnay, with world class examples being crafted.
Elgin wines tend to be high in acidity, with evolved flavours, as the long hang times allow full phenol development.
The Winery: The Cluver family are pioneers in the exciting, bourgeoning wine region of Elgin Valley in South Africa with a history in the area dating to 1896. The cool climate region excels at producing elegant and pure Riesling, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir and has seen significant investment from many of the Cape’s recognized leaders in viticulture and winemaking over the past decade. The Cluver family were the first to plant vines in the Valley in 1986 and released their first commercial wine in 1990.
The Winemaking: Cluver’s Village wines were created to replicate the village-level wines of Burgundy. This is sourced from estate vineyards situated between 400 and 600 MASL, on an inland plateau surrounded on three sides by mountains. 30 year old vines are planted in predominantly decomposed Bokkeveld shale with underlying clay. Farmed sustainably with no pesticides. The region’s morning mists, cool evenings, low rainfall and long sunlight hours create naturally low yields. Cold maceration, hand-plunging, aged in a combination of French oak barrels, stainless steel tanks and 5,000 litre wooden vats for 9 months. Full malolactic conversion.