Where to for KWV Roodeberg? The wine, which came into existence in 1949, was for a long while made for export only (as the co-operative was excluded from trading locally). Locally only those with a KWV quota were able to buy it and on account of this rarity, the brand took on cult status.
In the aftermath of the ANC coming to power during the 1990s, KWV relinquished its statutory powers, converted from a co-operative into a company and sought to enter the domestic market. Roodeberg was suddenly just another mid-price red blend.
Yesterday the launch of the 2010 vintage, consisting of 41% Cab, 32% Shiraz, 18% Malbec and 9% other varieties (Ruby Cab, Cab Franc, Petit Verdot and Tannat)). It shows very ripe dark fruit on nose and palate and comes across as juicy and soft. I’m sure it’s going to have huge popular appeal but I found it a little glib (score: 14.5/20).
But here’s the deal. In terms of vinification, around 90% is matured on staves in tank, while 25% of production goes into bag-in-box. I have it on good authority that total production is three million litres, of which 80% is exported. This is quintessential “world wine”.
The headache for the marketing department is how to keep sales up without forfeiting the undoubted cachet that the Roodeberg still has. Enter a new wine called “Dr Charles” or more specifically Dr Charles Niehaus 2010, after the man who originally came up with the concept back in the 1940s. This is a “super-Roodeberg” set to sell at R160 a bottle, the blend consisting of 50% Shiraz, 40% Cab and 10% Merlot. On the nose red fruit, fynbos and spice while the palate is medium bodied with great freshness and fine tannins. Very primary at the moment, it should drink well between 2013 and 2015.
I thought it had great appeal scoring it 16.5/20. Crafty on the part of the KWV brains trust as I suspect “Dr Charles” will keep most wine geeks happy with a positive spill-over effect on how the standard label is perceived.