KWV The Mentors Grenache Blanc 2014
By Christian Eedes, 13 November 2015
The Mentors range from KWV are nothing if not precise, this borne out by it being the most successful producer at Veritas five years running. The approach from the winemaking team is very technically correct (very low pHs on the whites and “optimal ripeness” on the reds) and the result is that the wines sometimes feel a bit engineered. When they get things right, though, the wines are very impressive indeed.
I got to revisit the current-release wines over lunch yesterday and the stand-out wines are the Chenin Blanc 2014, the Grenache Blanc 2014 and the Shiraz 2013.
The Chenin Blanc was rated 93/100 on a previous occasion (see here) and I would stand by that.
Spending some time with the Grenache Blanc, however, I’ve come around to thinking that is a very fine wine indeed. From a Paarl vineyard, fermentation which occurred spontaneously, beginning in tank and finishing in barrel, maturation lasting six months in a combination of 300-litre and 500-litre barrels, none new.
Grenache Blanc is one of the more difficult varieties to describe as its aromas and flavours are not at all obvious. What impresses about this wine is its quite extraordinary poise and finesse – there’s a sense of drinking something perfectly envisioned both in vineyard and cellar, even though words to describe it don’t readily come to mind. The analysis is one for wine geeks to savour, alcohol being 13.5%, RS 3.34g/l, TA 7.15g/l and pH 2.99. I initially scored it 92/100 but am now inclined to raise this to 95/100.
Then there’s the Shiraz 2013. It’s a multi-regional blend with 39% of the grapes from Swartland , 44% Paarl and 17% Wellington. Fermentation occurred spontaneously and maturation lasted 18 months in 85% French and 15% American oak, 70% new.
It’s polished in the best sense. Class Shiraz aromatics of red and black fruit, dried flowers, pepper and spice. Rich and full on the palate with sumptuous fruit, snappy acidity and fine tannins. It’s stylistically pretty far away from what the Swartland Independent or Zoo Biscuits are doing but it’s still delicious. Rating: 91/100.