FESTIVE SHOPPING 1: WINES FOR HOLIDAY ENJOYMENT
Unless you are one of those organised (and justifiably smug) souls that has everything bought, wrapped and labelled by the start of November, Christmas shopping starts in December. This entails gifts, plus food and wine for entertaining, as well as traditional festive meals with New Year celebrations to follow.
This is about some recently released wines that are great buys for high days and holidays, more to come in a second blog with reviews of wine guides and books that make very acceptable gifts.
KWV has enjoyed a great year, winning an armful of of medals at the 2015 Veritas Awards, and attracting international recognition with inclusion on Drinks International’s World’s Most Admired Wine Brands 2015.
Chief winemaker Johann Fourie also walked off with the title Diners Club Winemaker of the Year award recently, clinching a non-stop series of success stories for this most prolific of winemakers.
The flagship The Mentors wines have well justified the cellar’s decision to make this a range where the team can experiment with various vineyards, cellar practices and grape varieties. The results speak for themselves: this year the following Mentors wines were awarded Veritas Double Golds: Chardonnay 2012, Orchestra 2011, Sauvignon blanc 2013 and Semillon 2014. The Mentors cab 2012, Orchestra 2013 and Sauvignon blanc/semillon 2013 attracted gold, while the Grenache Blanc 2014 brought home a double gold from the Michelangelo Awards and a gold from the six Nationals Wine Challenge in Australia.
Here’s more on an appealing screwcapped trio from this fine series:
My favourite, the 2014 Grenache Blanc, made from Paarl grapes, is a bold white, characterful, presenting a variety of apple and citrus on the nose, followed by more on the palate, backed by a vanilla core and hints of cream. It will keep well, but can also partner festive fare with more than a hint of spice.
Darling vineyards provided the grapes for the Semillon 2014, so not surprising to find fresh grassiness on the palate, along with green figs and green apples, with a mineral core and refreshing crispness. New, second, third and fourth-fill barrels were used to mature a quarter of the vintage. With a moderate 13,5% alcohol level , a summer wine that makes a great aperitif and accompaniment to seafood.
The Orchestra 2011 is already drinking smoothly well, with fans relishing savouriness followed by berry flavours in a juicy classic Bordeaux-style blend. Made up of 42% cab, 25% merlot, 16% petit verdot, 13% cab franc and finished with a splash or two of malbec, the grapes were sourced from Stellenbosch (64%) Darling (22) Paarl and Wellington (each 7%) this is a wine to open for festive roasts of lamb, beef and venison.