Recently KWV’s two top-end examples of Shiraz, The Mentors 2011 (R195 a bottle) and Abraham Perold Insignis 2011 (R600 a bottle). Drinking them side by side, I thought there was little to set them apart, both in terms of quality and style.
The Mentors 2011 is a blend of 83% Paarl, 10% Swartland and 7% Banghoek grapes and Abraham Perold Insignis 2011 a blend of 47% Paarl, 40% Swartland and 13% Banghoek. Both underwent 18 months maturation in 85% French and 15% American oak, 70% new, Insignis evidently a barrel selection of The Mentors but both apparently designed to be as plush as possible.
The Mentors 2011 showed black fruit, prominent vanilla, spice and a hint of pepper. It’s big and rich with moderate acidity and possessing a little more tannic grip of the two.
Insignis, meanwhile, appeared to have slightly more nuance. An attractive floral note to go with red and black fruit on the nose. Good flavour intensity, slightly smoother and more polished overall.