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Decanter World Wine Awards 2023

Platinum Award

2018 Rust en Vrede 1694 Classification  97 points

Gold Medals

2021 Paul Cluver Seven Flags Chardonnay  95 points
2021 Paul Cluver NLH Riesling  95 points
2022 Rustenberg Wild Ferment Sauvignon Blanc 95 points
2017 Ernie Els Signature  95 points

Silver medals

2021 Bouchard Finlayson Galpin Peak Pinot Noir  93 points
2021 Bouchard Finlayson Croc’s Lair  91 points
2022 Bouchard Finlayson Missionvale Chard  93 points
2021 Bouchard Finlayson Sans Barrique  92 points
2022 Paul Cluver Village Chardonnay  90 points
2022 Paul Cluver Sauv Blanc  90 points
2020 Paul Cluver Chardonnay  90 points
2018 Paul Cluver Seven Flags Pinot Noir  92 points
2018 Glenelly Lady May  92 points
2016 Glenelly Estate Red  91 points
2020 Glenelly GC Syrah 91 points
2021 Rustenberg John X Merriman  92 points
2022 Rustenberg Sauvignon Blanc  92 points
2022 Rustenberg Chardonnay  92 points
2021 Rustenberg Five Soldiers Chard  94 points
2020 Rustenberg Peter Barlow  91 points
2022 Rustenberg Grenache Blanc  92 points
2020 Rust en Vrede Estate wine  91 points
2021 Rust en Vrede Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 91 points
2022 Donkiesbaai Steen  93 points
2021 Stellenbosch Reserve Vanderstel  90 points
2022 Stellenbosch Reserve Chardonnay  90 points
2015 Trentham Estate Noble Taminga  91 points
2019 DeMorgenzon Reserve Syrah  91 points
2020 DeMorgenzon Maestro white  90 points
2018 Ernie Els Proprietors Blend  92 points
2021 Ernie Els Big Easy Red Blend  90 points
2022 Kirrihill regional Riesling  91 points
2022 Capel Vale Debut Malbec  91 points
2022 Capel Vale Regional Riesling  94 points
2019 Golden Amrita Golden Amrita Single Estate Shiraz  90 points

Bronze medals

Bouchard Finlayson Hannibal 2020
Paul Cluver Village Pinot Noir 2021
Paul Cluver Pinot Noir 2021
Glenelly Estate Chardonnay 2021
Rustenberg Wild Ferment Unwooded Chardonnay 2022
Rustenberg Malbec 2021
Rustenberg RM Nicholson 2021
Rustenberg Cabernet Sauvignon 2021
Rustenberg Fortified Old Vine Muscat of Alexandria 2021
Rust en Vrede Estate wine 2019
Donkiesbaai Donkiesbaai Grenache Noir 2021
Stellenbosch Reserve Cab Sauv 2021
Wooing Tree Pinot Noir 2020
DeMorgenzon Reserve chenin 2020
DeMorgenzon Maestro Blue 2019
Kirrihill regional Shiraz 2021

Vintage Report from Paul Cluver Wines

2023 Vintage report from Paul Cluver Wines, Elgin, South Africa

“The unexpected rainfall experienced in Elgin and throughout the Cape this year, seldom seen in our summer, gave me practical insight into what Burgundy goes through during harvest in terms of its ever-changing array of climatic challenges.” says Andries Burger.

After a dry winter and growing season on Paul Clüver Estate in 2022, the vineyard growing season commenced with even bud-break, flowering and veraison in the Pinot Noir and Chardonnay vineyards, Paul Clüver’s flagship varieties.

“Being the coolest wine-growing region in South Africa, with steep diurnal temperature differences, our vines were healthy, disease-free and heading for even stages of ripening, predicting another quality vintage,” says Burger. “The 87mm of rain in December came at just the right time, refreshing the vines during their taxing growth stage and further cooling soils and air. Preventative spraying programmes had kept any thoughts of disease at bay, and expectations were looking to be excellent.”

Harvesting on Paul Clüver Family Wines commenced in mid-February, slightly earlier than last year, but with the first batches of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay showing Elgin’s characteristic firm acids and accurate superb ripeness, with the Pinot Noir drawing deep garnet colour during fermentation. About halfway through the harvest, the heavens opened in the first week of March. Unfortunately, some 43mm of rainfall was measured over three days, delaying picking. “Fortunately, the rain did not result in any major damage in the vineyards, and the bunches held firm as they waited for picking to re-commence. Once the rain stopped and harvesting got underway, we found that both Chardonnay and Pinot Noir were ripe, but at lower sugar levels than average.”

Burger says that despite the lower sugar levels, the juice, fermenting grapes and just-fermented wines show extraordinary aromas. “It is as if the lower sugar allowed the fruit greater all round expression,” he says. “There is an enormous varietal character, vivid flavour compounds and structure showing the usual elegance our Pinot Noir and Chardonnay is known for, but with regal backbone and a visceral structure.”
With further rainfall now predicted for later in March, Burger and his team managed to get the Paul Clüver vineyards harvested before the heavy rain that fell in the week of 20 March, which saw over 80mm pummelling down.

“Fortunately, we were all done and dusted by then,” says Burger. “The quality of the batches picked after the first March rains showed us that getting the grapes as soon as possible was the right call. With all fruit being hand-selected, any substandard berries were removed, underscoring our ethos of stringent quality control.” With some of the wines still undergoing spontaneous fermentation and the young wines now in the tank, foudre, barrel and concrete egg, we are pleased with the prospect of a great vintage in terms of wine quality. But I would be lying if I said that, with the amount of curveballs the summer rain gods sent our way, it was an easy harvest. On the contrary, it was challenging and nerve-wracking and showed that timing and decision-making are crucial during this most vital wine-making cycle.”