Paul Cluver Chardonnay - Notes on Colour By Winemaker Andries Burger

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Colour in white wine come from a polyphenol called flavonoid (flavus = yellow in Latin) which is found in the skin of the grape. Flavonoid levels appear to be a linked to sunlight exposure and ripeness levels. Bunches exposed to the sun tend to have higher flavonoid levels. Wines made from very ripe grapes tend to be more yellow in colour. Studies undertaken in Australia have not found a correlation between flavonoid levels and wine quality.


Of the white grape varieties, Chardonnay has particularly high levels of flavonoids and shows a great increase in flavonoids when the bunches are exposed to direct sunlight. In Elgin, due to our cool climate and less sunlight hours per day in the growing season, we tend to have lower flavonoid levels in our Chardonnay.

Winemaking practices like skin contact of grapes prior to pressing, addition of press juice and oxidative winemaking style will also have an influence on the levels of flavonoids and can lead to an increase in yellow colour in wine. At Paul Cluver, the Chardonnay is made in a more classic, elegant style. Skin contact and oxidation is kept to the minimum. Consequently the wines have less flavonoids and will present itself with a slight bright green tint rather than a yellow one like some wines from other new world wine countries.

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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