Three from the KWV Mentors range: high end South Africans

KWV is an important company in the history of South African wine. In 1918, this super-cooperative (full name Kooperative Wijnbouwers Vereniging van Zuid Afrika) was formed to avoid perennial problems of overproduction and price collapses that beset the wine market. Gradually, the KWV assumed more government-granted powers and controlled practically the whole market.

It was also instrumental in establishing the Wine of Origin scheme, which was conceived in 1973. This appellation scheme, with its hierarchy of regions, districts and wards, also legislated the ‘Estate Wine’ concept: a wine farm producing wine from its own vineyards.

In 1997 it was converted into a private wine company, and has been working hard making some pretty smart wines. The Mentors range is the pinnacle of the KWV’s production. These three wines impressed (disclosure: I was paid to review two of these wines on Instagram, thus you can consider this to be a sponsored post, although this wasn’t part of the package).

KWV The Mentors Chenin Blanc 2019 Coastal Region, South Africa
14% alcohol. This is a distinctive high-end Chenin Blanc showing lovely freshness and detail, with a mandarin flourish and some well balanced peach, apricot and mango fruit. It’s got a lovely lively, spicy character too with nice intensity and freshness. Shows off the way that Chenin is capable of richness but also lightness in the same wine, with lovely acidity tapering beautifully on the finish. A serious expression of this variety, and thankfully free of winemaking artefact. 93/100

KWV The Mentors Petit Verdot 2018 Stellenbosch, South Africa
14% alcohol. Deeply coloured, this has a fresh nose of floral blackcurrant and blackberry fruit with a touch of cedar spice and vanilla, but the oak is nicely in the background. The palate is fresh and vivid, with bright blackcurrant fruit and a touch of orange peel and tar, as well as a lovely spicy flourish on the finish. There’s also a nice saltiness. This is a modern-styled, ripe, fruit forward red, but there’s lovely balance here and it will age beautifully I reckon. Fabulous the next day. Such intensity. 93/100

KWV The Mentors Petite Sirah 2018 Paarl, South Africa
14.5% alcohol. There’s astonishing concentration to this wine. An inky purple-black in colour, it shows intense blackberry and cherry fruit on the nose with some savoury spiciness. There’s real concentration on the palate, but it’s not at all heavy. There’s some brisk acidity, and a juicy red fruits quality sitting under the black fruits, keeping things really fresh. Notes of tar, dried herbs and citrus peel add interest. It’s a somewhat unusual wine, with all its flavour contrasts: Petite Sirah does, though, work well in this warm climate. On day two, it’s even better. 93/100

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