Paul Cluver, the first to plant grapes in the Elgin Valley region south-east of Stellenbosch, has gone on to pioneer wine production in this area - so much so that it now attracts some very high-profile winemakers.
This cool valley has been the home of the Cluver family since 1896, and the large estate, of which the winery and vineyards are just a small part, is still family-owned and run. Paul and his wife Songvei are now supported by four of their five children in the running of the winery, and their daughter Inge's husband, Andries, is now chief winemaker.
The family estate is in fact part of a UNESCO World Heritage site, meaning that half of it is set aside in perpetuity for conservation. Paul Cluver himself is a champion of conservation, having practised sustainable farming since 1970, and social and environmental responsibility remain cornerstones of the family ethos. Paul was also one of the original founders and supporters of leading Fairtrade producer Thandi.
The family's sauvignon blanc plantings take up 18.7 hectares, or around 23% of the total vineyard area. The first sauvignon plantings took place in 1993, and currently the vines range between 5 and 16 years old. A brilliant diversity of grape character is achieved through a mixture of French and New Zealand clones which are planted on south and south-east-facing slopes ranging between 280 and 450m above sea level.
There are no fixed methods in the cellar, as the team prefer to let the vintage do the talking. The 2012 was blended with 8% oak-aged semillon for extra roundness, and a creamier texture was achieved by ageing the sauvignon on its lees for five months.
Grower profile: updated 22/10/2013