Paul Cluver, Seven Flags Pinot Noir 750ml 2016South Africa, Elgin
'The 2016 Seven Flags Pinot Noir, Paul Cluver’s flagship Pinot, was racked to 300-liter French oak barrels, where the wine completed its malolactic, and spent 11 months in 25% new oak, the rest second-, third- and fourth-fill. This is easily the best of the three recent Pinot releases that I tasted at the estate, almost Pommard-like on the nose with brambly red berry fruit and fine mineralité. The palate is clean and fresh on the entry, offering tart red berry fruit, gentle grip in the mouth, moderate weight and impressive tension on the stylish and quite persistent finish. This has long been one of the Cape’s finest Pinot Noirs, and this year is no different.' – Neal Martin Report 2018, 93/100
'It has very appealing aromatics with notes of musk and cherry plus some oak char and spice. The palate shows good fruit definition, freshness and fine tannins – there’s a really nice energy about it and the finish is long and dry.' – Christian Eedes, Winemag.co.za, 92/100
'The 2016 Seven Flags Pinot Noir has a bright ruby colour, the nose is very expressive with lots of red berry notes. The taste of the wine carries on from the nose, red fruit with hints of savory notes, minerality and great complexity. The wine is very generous, the purity of the fruit is exceptional with great structure and length.' – WInemaker
After a dry winter the summer leading to the 2016 harvest will be remembered as one of the driest in the Western Cape, it was also the earliest harvest they have experienced at Paul Cluver Wines. Fortunately, they do experience very cool night temperatures in Elgin, this helped the grapes retain freshness. They started the harvest of Seven Flags Pinot Noir on the 17th of February and completed the picking on the 26th of February.
The approach to winemaking follows that of the Paul Cluver Pinot Noir initially. Extensive individual berry sorting was done by hand prior to destemming, no crushing of the grapes is allowed. After destemming the berries are transported in satellite tanks and the fermenting vats is filled by gravity. This was followed by cold maceration at 12 - 14 degrees Celsius for 6 days. The fermentation is a 3.5-ton wooden vats was allowed to start naturally before inoculating with selected Burgundian yeast after a third of the fermentation was completed. During the fermentation, the skin cap was punched through by hand no more than twice per day. After fermentation, the wine pressed and racked to barrel for malolactic fermentation and remained on the fine lees for 11 months. To confirm the superiority of the vineyard sites, the ear-marked Seven Flags Pinot Noir are tasted blind in conjunction with all the other Paul Cluver Pinot Noir barrels in the cellar. The best barrels of the site are then selected and blended to form the Seven Flags Pinot Noir. Total new wood component equates to 38%.
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AG: Antonio Galloni of Vinous.com | AM: Allen Meadows of Burghound.com | CE: Christian Eedes of Winemag.co.za | DEC: Decanter | GS: Greg Sherwood MW | JR: JancisRobinson.com | NM: Neal Martin of Vinous.com OM: Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show | PG: Platter's Guide | ST: Stephen Tanzer of Vinous.com | TA: Tim Atkin MW | VIN: Vinous.com | WA: Wine Advocate | WE: Wine Enthusiast | WM: Winemag.co.za Report | WS: Wine Spectator