I have always had a fondness for South African wines. They may not come across as fruit forward as other New World wines, but they are also not as austere as some Old World wine. They sit right in the middle, making them sippable on their own, but I think shine quite brightly when you pair them with food. I was pleased to be invited to a tasting with winemaker Izele van Blerk from KWV, I think the largest winery in South Africa. Izele was very friendly and enjoyed talking about each of her wines. Getting insights into a wine’s production can help you to better appreciate the wine and what the winemaker was attempting to do.
A Few Wines I Enjoyed from KWV
Here are a few of the wines that I really enjoyed. Most of these wines are available here in BC.
KWV Cathedral Cellar Sauvignon Blanc 2012 ($16.99) – Ripe stone fruit and honey on the nose. Quite sophisticated. Medium body, round with medium acidity. I love the minerality in this wine. I get asparagus, stone fruit and honey on the palate. Mouthwatering finish with a bit of pepperiness. A classy wine! Rating:
Laborie Sauvignon Blanc 2013 – Laborie is the name of a farm that KWV owns and produces wines from the grapes grown there. Nice asparagus and herbal aromas in the glass. Light body with green and asparagus flavours. Jalapeno pepper from mid-palate to finish. Minerality in the background. I swear I could taste limestone. Racy acidity on the finish. Yum. Rating:
Cafe Culture Pinotage 2013 ($13.99) – Pinotage is a grape born in South Africa; a cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsault. Coffee up front on the nose, together with ripe plums and cherries. Very pleasant to smell. Medium body with soft tannins. More coffee / mocha, ripe black cherries, and vanilla on the palate. Some pepperiness but not overpowering. The coffee/mocha/cherries/vanilla flavours are quite persistent from beginning to end. This wine has some minerality to it, plus higher acidity. The higher acidity plus minerality makes the coffee flavour pop. A fun wine. Rating: Enjoy this wine with your next braii.
A few other countries have brought Pinotage over, such as Canada, and in particular BC. Try Stoneboat’s Pinotage.
KWV The Mentors Canvas 2008 – The Mentors is an experimental range by KWV. They try different things and if they get very good results, then they try to roll out the technique to their other ranges of wines. This red blend had a lighter intensity nose, with ripe dark fruit, black cherries and vanilla. Medium plus body. Purple fruit flavour. As you aerate this wine in your mouth the minerality and pepperiness in this wine builds, which is quite interesting. This wine is very fruit forward, together with some vanilla. I wish it had a bit more tannins to add a little more structure, but a very tasty fruity wine. Rating:
KWV Classic Cape Ruby ($12.99) – A great price for a fortified wine. This one is medium garnet in colour. Light intensity nose with ripe red cherries, nutmeg and vanilla. Off dry, medium body, round in the mouth. Vanilla, sweet spices and ripe red cherries. I also picked up some flowery perfume. Very soft tannins. A nice balanced sipper. Rating:
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