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International Trophy Off-Dry under £15 – Paul Cluver, Marks & Spencer Ferricrete Riesling, Elgin, South Africa 2014

A captivating, provocative wine, with a bewitching nose of lime zest, oil and apple blossom. There’s a beautiful tension between the sweet and sour elements on the palate, with pithy ripe lemon, crunchy green apple, lashings of lime cordial and tangy acidity (10%).
£13 Marks & Spencer

Riesling is one of the most amazing grape varieties in the world but, like most things that are very rewarding, it is also very challenging,’ says Paul Cluver Jr. Luckily, the Elgin area of South Africa – once betterknown for apple growing than anything wine related – makes that challenging task more rewarding, if no less difficult.

Ferricrete may not be the most romantic of names, but the reference is to a block of Riesling on the Paul Cluver estate – more than 26 years old – where decomposed shale and light clay are overlaid with a top layer of ‘ferricrete’, or free-draining sand and gravel.

Elgin is a cool area, and not just by South African standards. In the 2014 vintage, the mercury dropped even lower than usual, with night-time harvesting capturing every last nuance of the grapes’ aromatic character.

No wonder that, for Cluver, elegance is the main characteristic of Elgin wines. And if more evidence were needed, it comes in the shape of two Regional Trophy wins this year for Paul Cluver wines (see p98 and p101), following on from an International Trophy last year for its 2013 Sauvignon Blanc and another for a 2012 Gewurztraminer in the 2013 competition.

The family has been farming on this land for 120 years, but Dr Paul Cluver (Paul Jr’s father) only started growing grapes in the mid-1980s, with Paul Cluver Wines – wine pioneers in the area – the first producer to use the Elgin ward name on its bottlings.

‘Coming from an apple-growing background, people often ask what is the biggest difference between an apple farmer and a wine farmer,’ says Paul Cluver Jr – the fourth in his family with the name. ‘The answer is simple: you’ll never find two apple farmers sitting up late at night saying to each other: “You have got to taste this apple!”.’


Once known for apple farming, Elgin’s cool climate is ideal for Riesling vineyards to thrive

Tasted against

There were no other Regional Trophies tasted in this category

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