Paul Clüver Family Wines strikes gold at Decanter World Wine Awards with Sauvignon Blanc 2023

Friday, 21 June, 2024
Paul Clüver Family Wines
Paul Clüver Family Wines was awarded a prestigious Gold medal at the 2024 Decanter World Wine Awards for the Paul Clüver Sauvignon Blanc 2023.

Pioneering Elgin wine estate Paul Clüver Family Wines underscored its versatility in its wine offering in being awarded a Gold medal at this year’s Decanter World Wine Awards for the Paul Clüver Sauvignon Blanc 2023, this wine securing a rating of 96pts at the leading international wine show. The Decanter World Wine Awards, which this year celebrates its 21st anniversary as a leading International wine show, saw over 18 000 entries from 57 countries being blind-judged by 243 leading experts from around the world.

Paul Clüver Sauvignon Blanc 2023 was the top-scoring South African Sauvignon Blanc at this year’s Decanter Awards, and only one of two Cape Sauvignon Blancs to secure a Gold medal.

Especially known for Chardonnay and Pinot Noir for which it has garnered local as well as international critical acclaim, Paul Clüver is also a leader in cool-climate Sauvignon Blanc from the Elgin region and has been farming with this variety on the farm’s hardy Bokkeveld Shale soils since 1990.

Andries Burger, cellarmaster at Paul Clüver Family Wines, says Sauvignon Blanc has found a particularly suitable home in Elgin, the coolest wine-growing region in South Africa “This variety is known for requiring a cool growing season to best express its abundance of aromatic aromas and flavours,” says Burger. “It is no surprise thus, that it was one of the cultivars selected for planting here over three decades ago. The plants love the sharp difference in diurnal temperatures together with the cool southerly breezes during the growing season in spring to early autumn. And our soils of tough Bokkeveld Shale with a water-retaining clay-underbed.”

Burger says the key to Paul Clüver Sauvignon Blanc is gentle handling of the grapes and a delicate pressing. “Sauvignon Blanc is a fragile grape with a complex spectrum of flavours and aromas,” he says. “In the cellar we try our best not to disturb this sensory harmony as this can lead to bluntness and unbalance in the wine, taking away the clarity of expression the grape is known for.”

For an added dimension, a 10% Sémillon component is added to the Sauvignon Blanc for depth of body and to flesh out the wine on the mid-palate. Half of this Sémillon element is fermented and aged in 2 500l wood foudré.

“The beauty of making Sauvignon Blanc is that the process is short and relatively simple, as it is aimed at capturing the essence of terroir,” says Burger. “After fermenting, the wine spends three-and-a-half months at a controlled temperature on its lees, which adds texture and mouthfeel. Besides the small Sémillon component, no wood is used, ensuring total clarity in the wine with the freshness and zest that has made Sauvignon Blanc South Africa’s leading white wine variety among consumers.

“Besides this pronounced Sauvignon Blanc feature, Paul Clüver’s version of this variety offers notes of passion-fruit and gooseberry, with a discernible mineral presence in the long, cool finish.”