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Paul Cluver Seven Flags Decanter Award

 2017 has without a doubt been a phenomenal year for Paul Cluver Wines, receiving local and international acclaim for their superb range of wines. The latest in an already impressive lineup was the award for the Best Chardonnay in the World at the 2017 Decanter World Wine Awards for its Seven Flags Chardonnay 2016.

The Decanter World Wine Awards results were announced in London on 25 May 2017, which saw 219 expert judges taste the 17,200 entries to eventually award the coveted Platinum Best in Show medals. Paul Cluver Wines was only one of two South African producers to receive this prestigious medal. A total of 34 Platinum Best in Show medals were awarded. The judging panel included 65 Masters of Wine and 20 Master Sommeliers.

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We don’t often see South African winemakers in this country. They seem to have forgotten about us or possibly we have neglected them. I brought this up with winemaker David Trafford, one of the leading lights of South African winemaking. I think we agreed to share the blame equally. But as Trafford says, ‘we do have quite a complicated story to tell and we should embrace that. Argentina is beautiful, but the whole country tells pretty much the same story. Our wines are much more individual depending on where they are grown.’

He has a point; the climates and soils of the Cape are very diverse and are suited to a number of different grape varieties. Even one grape, such as Syrah, can produce a wide range of styles, varying from lean and elegant to rich and full-bodied. As outlined in the Irish Times some time ago, Dr. Eilís Cryan of Kinnegar Wines seems to be on a one-woman mission to bring us the finest that South Africa produces, including the Trafford wines. 

I really enjoyed the Trafford tasting; not only were the wines excellent and full of character, but David Trafford was an interesting and very open speaker. For instance he argues that the importance of older vines is overdone.

ROBERT PARKER'S WINE ADVOCATE- NOVEMBER 2015

Neal Martin writes...
 
"Samantha O'Keefe is living the dream. That's not to say things have been easy for the ex-Californian on the outskirts of Greyton. You know what they say about how to make a small fortune in wine. The competition is fierce when you start out. I mean, how do you distinguish yourself from the crowd? One way is to splash lots of money on marketing. Another is to price your wine at a silly price in the hope of persuading people that it must be good. Of course, you can just make bloody good wine, which is the route that Samantha wisely took.

Samantha O'Keefe“I’m multi-faceted”, Samantha O’Keefe jokingly responded when I wrote to her, with some trepidation as to what to say, asking for an interview. So much has already been said in the press – of herself, of Lismore, of the story which brought her here, and left her here with her two sons on the most beautiful farm, to make wine. I hadn’t been sure I could add to it meaningfully. Yet I felt compelled that I should.

What drew me back was a memory of a first visit to the farm, more than a year ago. Driving up the bumpy trail with a friend to her home, I was horrified at our wheels crushing hundreds of what I took to be crickets, jumping in the road. Later I saw they were frogs – tiny black ones, in their thousands. What brought me back now, so much later, was as much a sense of these frogs as of the burned but unmoved mountains, of a white dress in a box seen through a basement window as a sentence remembered: “love is supposed to be simple”. But mostly of a wine I’d had, and the person who made it.

About Kinnegar

Kinnegar Wines was born almost by accident and been growing organically since.

In 1998, I was in the midde of a two year diploma course with the London Wine & Spirits Trust when an opportunity came up to visit South Africa's Western Cape. Naturally, I was keen to avail of the opportunity to learn more about viticulture and winemaking in South Africa.

We had an excellent guide who brought us to a number of the Cape's leading estates including Thelema and De Trafford where we had in depth vineyard and cellars tours. At the end of the day, I wanted to take back some of the wonderful wines we had tasted for our own use. It was not possible to take two or three cases of wine with us on our flight and shipping such a small quantity was more than the cost of wines. So I had the mad idea of shipping a pallet! Clearly, I had to start selling these wines and so began Kinnegar Wines. Ashford Castle took many of the wines and continue to list them and newer arrivals ever since.

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