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The wines of KWV, South Africa

KWV International, P.O. Box 528, Suider Paarl, 7624, South Africa
Tel: 27 21 807 3900 Fax: 27 21 807 3349
Website: www.kwv-international.co.za

KWV has been a pivotal figure in the South African wine industry. It was initially formed in 1918 as a cooperative, but as well as producing and marketing wine, it also had an official role in regulating and administering South African wine in general. In recent years there have been major changes to its organization. In 1997 it ceased being a cooperative and was converted into a group of companies. The administrative and regulatory functions were transferred to a new organization called the Wine Industry Trust, and the commercial side of the business became KWV International. Then, at the beginning of 2003, KWV International spun off the cooperative side of the business (now known as the Wijngaard Co-operative, concentrating solely on the interests of producers), and now focuses solely on commercial goals (KWV Ltd).

This selection of five wines from the range was very encouraging. The standard of winemaking is clearly very high here, and for the price points these wines occupy, they offer tremendous value.

KWV Chenin Blanc 2002 Western Cape
Bright, fruity and crisp with a slight petillance, good acidity and a citrussy edge. Tasty and approachable. Good concentration. Very good (£4.49 Safeway, Thresher, Wine Rack, Victoria Wine, Bottoms Up, Unwins, Londis)

KWV Sauvignon Blanc 2002 Western Cape
Lovely expressive nose with a hint of blackcurrant and trademark grassy, gooseberry notes. Nice full flavoured style with a fresh herby finish. Good acidity. Very good+ (£4.79 Unwins, Wine Cellar)

KWV Shiraz 2000 Western Cape
Easy drinking, seamless ripe sweet fruit with enough spicy structure to give balance. There’s an appealing tarry, spicy edge. Some character here; well made. Very good (£4.99 Unwins)

KWV Pinotage 2001 Western Cape
Distinctive, vivid herbal nose with some berry fruit. The palate shows slightly rustic, herby fruit together with sweet spicy notes. The finish is a tiny bit cheesy, but there’s good acidity. It’s a textbook example of Pinotage if you are keen on this rather unusual variety. Very good (£4.99, Thresher, Wine Rack,  Victoria Wine, Bottoms Up, Unwins, Wine Cellar, Londis)

KWV Merlot 2001 Western Cape
Leafy green edge to the blackcurrant fruit nose, which is quite nicely poised. The palate is quite rich with herby, leafy edged fruit and good acidity. Nicely balanced - quite a Bordeaux-like style, and showing good varietal character. Very good (£4.99
Safeway, Morrisons, Unwins, Londis)

KWV Roodeberg 2001 Western Cape
Really appealing spicy, herby cherry and raspberry fruit nose with a touch of leafiness and just a touch of stinkiness (but as a nice complexing factor). The palate is spicy and well structured with good acidity. There’s just a tiny bit of greenness, but this is still a very attractive wine. Very good+ (£5.99 Morrisons, Thresher, Wine Rack, Victoria Wine, Unwins, Wine Cellar, Booker)  

Wines tasted March 2003

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