Where I’m from thunderstorms dominate the sky in summer. They are mighty in their magnitude and brutal in force. These storms roll in from the west in a magnificent display of temper. Dark and brooding at first with a sudden switch to fury, there is nothing mild about these Free State storms. They are intense, wild and incredibly sexy. When these storms gather in the skies I open a bottle of Pinot Noir – because there is only one varietal to drink when nature displays her rage, and that is a sensual Pinot Noir. She brings the thunder and I bring the wine.
Pinot Noir is sexy. A great Pinot is dead sexy – and calls for an epic storm.
Last year, judging the Cabernet Franc and Pinot Noir category on Wine magazine’s wine judging panel, I put my palate on a block and called 19 (out of 20) on a Pinot. Yes, it was a liberal score. But I really liked the wine. I really, really did. It was a wine I wanted to take home with me for Christmas. It was a wine I wanted to drink while watching clouds gather in the west.
It was the Paul Cluver Seven Flags ’08.
Yesterday I attended the launch of the sequel in Elgin, The Paul Cluver Seven Flags ’09.
I can tell you that the wine is made from 19 year-old vineyards – the farm’s oldest vineyards – that the wine is matured in French oak for 11 months, only 20% in first fill, that the fine grain and purity of fruit on this Pinot is immaculate, that it’s elegant, exact and delicate. That it retails for R350 a bottle and that it’s worth it.
But that doesn’t do it justice.
What I should tell you is that it’s a wine I would like to drink with my head resting in the lap of Thor.