Created with the aim of reviving family traditions, Cluver & Jack cider is the brainchild of Chardonnay champion Paul Cluver and Pinotage pioneer Bruce Jack.
While the Cluver family has grown apples at its De Rust farm for years, Jack’s great-grandfather was one of the first to plant cider apple trees in South Africa.
Cluver & Jack ciders are made at the Paul Cluver Winery in Elgin using a generations-old method devised by the Jack family.
“Real cider can only be made from sensitively-farmed, freshly-pressed, unadulterated apple juice, which becomes a pure expression of our special corner of the universe,” said Jack.
“When these bottles go out into the world, they take with them something of the beauty, intrigue, mythology and charm of this land,” he added.,
Using Granny Smith apples and other secret varieties, the apples that go into Cluver & Jack are hand-picked from the tree then chopped into small pieces and pressed in a specially designed belt press that slowly squeezes all the juice out.
This juice is then gravity-clarified in chilled tanks then allowed to ferment at cool temperatures in order to capture the intrinsic aromas in the apple juice.
After fermentation, the spent yeast cells are filtered out and a “sparkling of CO2” is added to give the cider “a captivating, celebratory fizz”.
“Farming on our scale with our principles isn’t glamorous, it’s hard work, and sometimes it’s heartbreaking. All the hard work is done in the orchard,” said Jack.
“Because of our hand-crafted philosophy, our cider is tastier, fresher, crisper, dryer and longer lasting than commercial ciders.
“The focus is on crisp, refreshing balance and fresh apple flavours. It’s much dryer than commercial ciders and pairs well with food just like a good Champagne,” he added.
Both Cluver and Jack believe their cider will develop in bottle and will reward up to five years of cellaring.