Paul Cluver Estate Pinot Noir 2018

Somehow September saw me experiencing this wine on 4 separate occasions. Paul Cluver very kindly gifted me a bottle…

...I went away for the weekend…and returned to an empty bottle…Paul Cluver had kindly gifted my brother a bottle.

So I purchased another 2018 to make these notes. A week later I commented on how I wish I’d thought to open the 2018 alongside the 2017 I was looking at on a friend’s shelf…we promptly opened the bottle. As September drew to a close I sat in on a SASA light red blind tasting….wine number 3 had me scribbling ‘Cluver, Elgin, hah!’.

The Wine:

Pale ruby according to some wine institutions…but this is so much more with its vibrant orangey-red crimson. Straight out of the fridge I got a medium nose of musk, florals, cloves and day old smoky campfire. Given a little time to warm up in the glass, I found cherries, cranberries, raspberries, soy sauce, wet leaves, crushed fynbos, earth, dried shiitake mushrooms, farmyard, smoky cigar box, toast and faint vanilla.

Dry, high acidity, light bodied with gentle tannins. This wine leads with savoury herbs, before releasing bursts of bright red fruits and ending in a long finish that lends smoky earth and vanilla to round out the fruits. It’s quite delicious the way you can taste the smokiness.

Vini + Viti:

The grapes are planted on decomposed Bokkeveld Shale with underlying clay, at altitudes of between 280m to 400m above sea level.

Only Burgundian clones are used for this Pinot Noir (667, 113, 115 and 777). The berries are sorted by hand followed by 6 - 8 days of cold maceration. The must is part wild fermented and part inoculation. Punch downs were done by hand twice a day.

The wines spent 12 months on the lees in French oak (27% new oak).


Balance (1) + Length (1) + Intensity (1) + Complexity (½)  = A very good wine 

Drink now, but potential for further ageing.

Final thoughts: 

Pinot Pondering: A recurring theme during 3 out of the 4 experiences was what fantastic value this Pinot offers. It’s readily available, and having bounced between the ’17 and ’18, I’m reminded of the consistency of the Paul Cluver wines. That combo of accessibility, consistent quality, and value for money are the reasons why I’ve brought this Pinot along to so many dinner parties.

Petty Pondering: A replacement bottle of Pinot would fit perfectly in my Christmas stocking, Brutus...erm...I mean, brother.

Tasted on a Root Day according to the Biodynamic Calendar for the SH.

Find the wine:

Leave a Reply