Paul Cluver Sauvignon Blanc 2004 released

Tuesday, 21 September, 2004
Shirley de Kock Gueller
Premium grapes selected from four different blocks on the Paul Cluver Estate in Elgin go into the 2004 vintage of the Paul Cluver Sauvignon blanc which has just been released.

Winemaker Andries Burger says that this wine, which follows in a tradition of earlier award-winning Paul Cluver Sauvignon Blanc wines, is a reflection of the difficult summer this year.

"The season started later than usual, and with a big bang. The earlier varieties ripened simultaneously, while the later ripening varieties took their time, making this the longest-lasting season to date. However, the later and cooler ripening conditions resulted in great concentration of fruit and that has made this vintage rather special."

Burger says this wine is a great reflection not only of the Paul Cluver terroir but also of the vintage.

"There is slightly more green pepper in the bottle, with green figs on the nose. Coming through are aromas of gooseberries and granadilla. The palate is crisp, full but elegant, rich and packed with flavour, ending in a mineral character and a lingering aftertaste."

Burger suggests enjoying the Paul Cluver Sauvignon blanc with salads and seafood or, of course, celebrate life and simply drink it on its own.

"As with all Paul Cluver Sauvignon blanc wines," he says, "this wine can be enjoyed immediately but will gain complexity in the bottle. Age it, if you like, for a couple of years."

Burger adds that the 2004 vintage was the first using the new sorting tables, which ensured only the best quality grapes were taken into the winery.

"This harvesting beginning on a date not only determined by chemical analysis but combined with taste ensure optimal ripeness level.

"We want to reflect not only terroir but vintage in the cellar," he says. "The grapes were handled reductively through every phases to capture all the crisp cool climate flavours in the bottle. We used a selection of yeasts known for their ability to bring out the characteristics of Sauvignon blanc.

"We keep our Sauvignon in the smallest tanks we can to give us greater diversity and make the blending much more interesting and varied, " he says.

The wine was left on the lees for 4 months, benefiting from the resulting richness and mouth feel. This mouthfeel was further enhanced by fermenting just eight per cent of the wine in second fill barrels which not only added another dimension of flavour but also richness on the palate.

This vintage follows a number of award-winning ones. The 2003 vintage was selected as one of the Top 10 White Wines from South Africa by Decanter, was awarded 4½ stars by Holland's Perswijn, and was the top performing South African Sauvignon blanc in 2004 Tri-Nations competition as well. The 2002 vintage won a gold medal at the Michelangelo Wine Awards; the 2001 a bronze at the International Wine Challenge in 2002; the 1999 vintage was one of only 23 silver medals, just four from SA, awarded at the 2000 International Wine Challenge in UK and the 1998 vintage was chosen to fly SAA in First and Business Class. The previous year's vintage won a merit award at the 1999 International Wine Challenge