KWV Wines is one of the leading wine and spirits producers in South Africa, dating back to 1918 when it started out as a small co-operative of growers. The company now produces in excess of 100 products and exports award-winning wines and brandies to over 100 global markets. With 54 growers in all vine growing areas of South Africa, they can benefit from both cooler and warmer growing conditions.
A recent tasting and classic South African roof-top Braai at London's The Driver with viticulturalist Marco Ventrella and food and drink PR experts R&R Teamwork showcased a variety of KWV Wines wines that embody the company's pioneering spirit.
Firstly, there were two wines from the new sulphur-free 'Earth's Essence' range. This unique, patented method involves fermenting and maturing wine with wood from the native Rooibos and Honeybush plants, both high in antioxidants, which acts as a natural way of preserving the wine and keeping it sulphur-free.
'Earth’s Essence' Sauvignon Blanc 2016 (Ocado £9.99)
A textured, richer style of Sauvignon with tropical fruit flavours, a touch of citrus and a little hint of smoky tannins.
'Earth’s Essence' Pinotage 2015 (Ocado £9.99)
Fresh, sweet forest fruits and spice with herbaceous and earthy touches.
"Grenache Blanc and Petit Verdot are varieties that laugh at the sun. In South Africa's perfect growing conditions, they are different from anywhere else on the planet."
We were also treated to a vertical tasting of Grenache Blanc from KWV's flagship Mentor range, which demonstrated the complexity of these wines' ageing potential and how the terpenes become more noticeable, developing a beautiful florality with time. Marco Ventrella explained how this grape variety is perfectly suited to the South African climate, keeping its freshness and minerality, although it is particularly susceptible to rain just before harvest. He added that Petit Verdot is another variety attracting much interest in the country, especially as a single varietal, with the amount of sunshine allowing good ripening levels, maintaining fruit concentration and structure in the resultant wines.
Mentors Grenache Blanc 2015 (RRP around £13.99)
Elegant, mineral, dry with good acidity, crunchy nut character, citrus and thyme.
Mentors Grenache Blanc 2014 (RRP around £13.99)
Very fruity and elegant with hints of apple and lime plus good acidity.
Mentors Grenache Blanc 2011 (RRP around £13.99)
Beautifully aromatic with apple and stone fruit notes, a minty/herbal edge, perfectly balanced acidity and a long palate.
A delicious, classic South African Braai offered plenty of food with second or third helpings impossible to resist!
Other wines available on the day were as follows:-
KWV Grenache Blanc 2016 (Co-Op £7.99)
As the label says, this is full of 'punchy peaches', nuts and herbs!
KWV Cinsault 2016 (Co-Op £7.99)
With notes of ripe red fruit, spice and a hint of coffee, this feels relatively light, even at 13.5% ABV and could be served lightly chilled.
Walker Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2016 (Morrisons £9.00)
Zesty, but with lower acidity than many other Sauvignon styles, this shows tropical notes with a grapefruit edge.
Cathedral Cellars Chardonnay 2015 (Co-Op £10.99)
Fresh and fruity with notes of ripe, juicy orchard fruit and citrus plus a touch of butter.
A complex mélange of herbs, blackberries, pomegranate and liquorice plus touches of pencil shavings and well-balanced tannins.
An inky-coloured and intense red with rounded, juicy fruit flavours of dark cherries and plums plus a punchy, herbal, green edge.
Very juicy with notes of cassis, black pepper and plums.