JUST THE FACTS
Price: R290 (as of Oct 2016)
Wine Region: Swartland
Country: South Africa
Ponce Factor: Med-high
Occasion: A gathering of wine ponces, beneath a full moon.
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Dense black fruit, white pepper, cloves & oak on the caboose. Superbly balanced. Despite its youth & formidable weight, tannins are ludicrously soft. If there is any criticism to make of this beauty, it’d be that it feels a little safe; acidity is tempered & any sharp edges have been removed. But, then again, as stated earlier, this is a definitive work, not a rule breaker. So safe as it is, I could drink this all year long.
Big Corporates can still be awesome
KWV Mentors winemaker Johan Fourie is writing textbooks; one bottle at a time. His chapter on Shiraz just happens to be a tour de force, with all the grace and elegance of a Tolkeinesque elven princess on ice skates. Unfortunately, there is not a lot of intrigue in the back story, so if you want to get maximum social impact when cracking this, best wait for a crowd that actually knows how incredible KWV’s Mentors range really is.
If you’re going to soldier on with this wine, and insist on dropping your pearls before your social circle of swine, be prepared to explain concepts like “terroir” and “fruit selection”. What makes KWV Mentors so exceptional as a range is that it fully employs the vast resources available to KWV to ensure that the fruit that goes into the wine is quite simply as good as it can be. Or at least as good as the winemaker wants it to be. There is the misconception amongst alchemists that “big is bad”, but quite honestly “big” is (more often than not) simply better funded, and so, if budget allows, and the winemaker knows what he is doing, the end result is going to be a winner. Needless to say, Johan Fourie knows his way around a grape.
Swartland street cred
With regards to terroir, this wine does boast the street cred of being 39% Swartland shiraz, so you can casually drop terms like “Swartland Revolution”, “bushvine”, or “low yield”, accompanied by the odd raised left eye brow. Wait to see if that gets any brownie points. If not, well, you’ve learnt your lesson – you should have kept this bad boy for a late night Wine Lovers’ Summit.
About the Author
Jono Le Feuvre is not a bean counter. He is a bean roaster. Bean roasters carry far more street cred & get to speak at bizarre niche gatherings of enquiring-but-unhinged-minds. They also usually have addictive tendencies. When he is not roasting beans he is pulling corks. Or deftly removing screwcap enclosures. But you can read more about him here.