Did you hear the good news?
Paul Cluver wines have reopened the doors to their restaurant, this time as an extension of the Cluver family values and everything they represent. The South African food and wine industry suffered a massive blow, leaving many restaurants with no other choice but to close. The Cluver family decided that if they were to get back into the game, it needed to be driven from an authentic core, honouring this philosophy that has always taken centre stage in all their endeavours.
Being a 4th generation family business, everything that comes together on a plate or in a glass speaks of a sense of place and pride in their accomplishments. Paul Cluver Wines has been a BWI Conservation Champion since 2008. Ccellar Master Andries Burger, a member of the Cluver family, is the longest established winemaker in the Elgin area. As a member of the Cape Winemakers Guild, his commitment to unwavering quality is further acknowledged.m [Paul Cluver Wines are part of the larger family business called De Rust Estate. Situated within the Kogelberg Biosphere, the pristine vineyards are farmed alongside their apple and pear orchards, which set a romantic stage for a dining experience that embodies the care, thought and sensitivity of the De Rust and Cluver family’s endeavours within this unique environment.
On a balmy summer Saturday, it helps that you are visiting one of the coolest wine regions in the country. The aromatic wines follow suit to quench your thirst with mouth-watering acidities that create Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Riesling, and Pinot Noir with immense complexity and longevity.
Over the past decade, the food and wine world are naturally inclined to more sustainable practices, which led to the popular farm to table concept. But it is more profound here. Farm practices focus on actively conserving water and energy with projects in conjunction with WWF, Cape Nature, Working for Water, various Western Cape Universities, and Working on Fire.
Greeted by a big, overhead welcome sign, one feels compelled to saunter over the lush green lawn shaded by ancient oak trees. Once you sit down in the restaurant, you already anticipate a celebration of local produce, looking out over the orchards.
Being actively involved in community and social responsibility, the farm has become a hive of opportunity for all living here. Most vegetables and herbs are grown in their garden and the De Rust Futura school garden on the estate. What cannot be produced here, is sourced locally.
Teaming up with chef Stacey Lee Chan happened as organically as everything else. Being no stranger to the Cluver family, Chan’s journey with fine dining and being the first-ever South African to win gold at the Chaines des Rotisseurs Commis Rotisseurs, culminated in what matters most: excellent, fresh, and locally sourced ingredients.
“People eat with their eyes and something as simple as an apple, beetroot and goat’s cheese salad or tomato, basil and mozzarella, is as beautiful to look at as it is delicious to eat.”
Goats cheese invites wines with natural acidities like Riesling, and basil is a match made in Cluver heaven when Sauvignon Blanc is poured.
In a valley known for Elgin Free Range Chicken, the Crown roast Elgin chicken with garden vegetables and a tangy cider reduction is as succulent as it promises to be, complete with a glass of Paul Cluver Estate Chardonnay. The local sirloin steak with pinot butter and chips is due to become a local go-to, so is the lighter option of pan-seared line fish. Pasta lovers can expect a wholesome, texture-laden dish with ingredients like oyster mushrooms, parmesan, spinach, and roasted almonds retaining its shape integrity, rather than to be hidden in a sauce.
Words and photographs: Samarie Smith