Paul Cluver Riesling 2006

February 9, 2012
by Christian
in What I Drank Last Night
with 1 Comment

Severe.

In an article that appeared The Sydney Morning Herald’s website recently, leading Australian wine critic Huan Hooke writes of Rielsing as follows: “the varietal is somewhat less than fashionable and sales have been flat for years, even though it remains the darling white grape of winemakers, merchants and writers. Indeed, it’s almost as though winemakers have thumbed their collective noses at the unheeding public and decided to indulge their passion for riesling regardless. They continue their quest to improve their wines while adding new styles”. So a bit like here, then.

There were 211ha of Riesling planted in South Africa at the end of 2010, the equivalent of 0.2% of the national vineyard and making it the 27th most planted variety. What you call a niche category.  Even so, it is indeed a subject of fascination for wine geeks and if you go in for the stuff, then you shouldn’t miss the “Riesling Rocks” festival at Hartenberg this Saturday where most of the top producers will be exhibiting. Tickets are R120 a person and are available from Webtickets.co.za.

Sadly, I’m unable to attend but entering into the spirit of the occasion, I opened 2006 from a Paul Cluver Estate in Elgin last night. Deep yellow in colour, it showed good fruit expression, thick texture and crisp acidity. In addition to citrus, green apple and peach flavours, a touch of honey. Lots going on but somehow lacking true finesse. Score: 15.5/20. Perhaps Riesling outside of Germany will always fail to be entirely convincing a bit like Pinot Noir outside of Burgundy.

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One Comment

  1. Barbara DavisOctober 24, 2012 at 6:51 pmReply

    We sell a lot of American, German, and now, Paul Cluver Rieslings in Greensboro, North Carolina. Our clientele is particularly fond of the Late Harvest and sweeter styles. As I learn more about South African white wines, especially Cluver’s wines, I find them extraordinary– we enjoy cultivating a new breed of Riesling drinkers, and chefs & cooks love the pairing of SA Rieslings with spicier cuisines. Rieslings are a perfect match for North Carolina BBQ (Hickory or Applewood smoked (pulled pork) served with “Hush Puppies” and sweet-vinegar-based cabbage slaw.  Originally from San Francisco and Napa Valley, I am now attracted to the distinctive “taste terroirs” of South African wines, the assortment of Rieslings, even the rare Bukettraube from Cederberg.  You can’t beat a South African Riesling or Chenin Blanc! Thank you savvy and skilled winemakers from Cluver and Cederberg!

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