If Jerez de la Frontera can’t get people to drink Sherry nor Porto Port, then why does KWV think it’s time to place more emphasis on its fortifieds? “We keep on winning all these awards and consumers don’t understand why,” says Charlene Engels, global brand manager at KWV wines – most recently KWV White Muscadel Jerepigo 1968 judged best museum class fortified and best museum class overall and KWV Late Bottled Vintage Muscadel 1930 a gold medallist at this year’s Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show. “KWV has a rich history when it comes to fortifieds. It’s part of what we stand for.”
Last night, a tasting of Cape Pale Dry (not currently listed at the KWV Emporium as it’s such a slow mover), Cape Medium Cream (R68 a bottle) and Full Cream (R70), Red Muscadel NV (R61), Cape Ruby (R65) and Cape Tawny (R80), all from the so-called Classic Collection.
Quirky facts: Pale Dry spends three years in the solera system and has an RS of 15g/l, Cape Medium four to six years in solera and has an RS of 100g/l, Full Cream five to six years in solera but includes portions of very old wines (as far back as 1944) and has an RS of 150g/l. Volumes of each are around 50 000 litres a year, sales divided between here and Canada.
Though the Muscadel is labelled non-vintage, the wine on show last night was from the 2014 vintage and had been bottled earlier in the day. Intensely floral on the nose, while the palate showed red fruit and spice. Thick textured but really vibrant acidity – winemaker Anneke du Plessis says she goes for an RS of about 220g/l and a higher-than-usual TA of around 6.5g/l.
A pre-bottled sample Cape Ruby, made from Tinta Barocca, Ruby Cabernet, Souzão and Pinotage was no great shakes but why drink that when you can opt for the always magnificent Cape Tawny? The main portion is aged for eight to 10 years but includes some wine aged for as much as 20 years.
To end the evening, a prototype “Show Tawny” consisting of fortifieds dating from 1944 to 1992, a real show-stopper. “Under law, it’s not possible to bottle it displaying an average age as you can with brandy and we’re not sure how to present it to the market,” says former KWV chief winemaker and now brand ambassador Richard Rowe. Time for the Wine & Spirit Board to amend its regulations?