The Mentors Pinotage 2011 from KWV (R195 a bottle) won the trophy for best “major red varietal” at the recent Six Nations Wine Challenge as well as double gold at this year’s Veritas Awards. Two major achievements so I was curious to see if it re-defines the Pinotage debate.
The short answer is: not really. This is immaculately crafted wine in a very modern idiom but nothing we haven’t seen before. Grapes are from dryland bush-vines, 90% Stellenbosch and 10% Paarl and it was matured for 16 months in 85% French and 15% American oak, 70% new.
Essentially, it’s a show-stopper. Sweet black cherry fruit and plenty of oak-derived character such as vanilla, cocoa powder and cinnamon. Very concentrated, rich and full but just about in balance thanks to fresh acidity. There’s no gainsaying the advances the KWV team have made with The Mentors range but typically it’s the whites rather than the reds which show the feeling and the love.