Taking a Closer Look at The Mentors, KWV's Remarkable Red Wines
Learn all about the three Ps of KWV's The Mentors range.
There are two maxims that most people know about red wine – that it is best enjoyed in colder weather, and that it pairs well with red meat. Most of us also know that there is more to it, especially when you start dissecting the different varietals of red wine, but often trying to understand all that can be intimidating. As a result, many people shy away from red wines, and stick to their whites and rosés.
To light a spark of interest and educate people on the intricacies of red wine, KWV The Mentors winemaker Izele van Blerk recently spent some time breaking down 'the three Ps' of her red wines – Pinotage, Petit Verdot and Period Tributum Red Blend.
Launched in 2006, The Mentors is a premium label under KWV. Built around a philosophy of expressing terroir and pioneering new wines and winemaking techniques, the brand continues to elevate winemaking in South Africa. With 11 harvests with the brand behind her, Van Blerk imparted her expertise about her red wines at an event held in the beautiful Cathedral Cellar at KWV in Paarl.
The day included a delectable pairing lunch inspired by the letter 'P' by chef Mynhart Joubert that included dishes such as pork belly, Parmesan fried gnocchi, peppered Pavlova with pinotage ice cream, platters of cheese and the best pea and ham soup we have ever tasted.
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The Three Ps of The Mentors Red Wines
The Mentors Pinotage 2016
The most obviously South African wine, and possibly the least intimidating red wine varietal of all, is Pinotage. It is a varietal we know well and one that is embraced by many winemakers, because it is unique to our country. The Mentors 2016 Pinotage is made with 100% Pinotage grapes from Darling. Previously, Van Blerk used grapes from a variety of different vineyards in the coastal region. But for this vintage, she chose to use grapes from one region, as 2016 was a particularly challenging year and selecting the best best grapes available was key.
While keeping with the experimental nature of The Mentors brand, Van Blerk also had to ensure the wine maintained its premium quality. The result is a modern-style Pinotage that has dense colour and bold flavour. On the nose you get notes of red fruit, including cranberries and plums, with a hint of spice. The fruit flavours are balanced with smooth tannins, giving the wine a well-rounded, smooth finish.
The Mentors Petit Verdot 2016
You may not have come across Petit Verdot on its own before. It is a varietal that is often used in red blends – particularly Bordeaux blends. It also happens to be Van Blerk's favourite red varietal and one she predicts will soon become big in South Africa. This is because many New World winemakers around the globe are opting to make it into a single varietal wine.
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Van Blerk's Petit Verdot illustrates The Mentors philosophy of standing out with exceptional wines. It is made with 100% Petit Verdot grapes from Stellenbosch, Walker Bay and Robertson, and has an intense ruby red colour with notes of dark cherries, black olives and violets. On the palate you get a sweet and fruity flavour, so it is an easy red wine to drink, yet still possesses the complexity and richness that dedicated wine lovers appreciate.
The Mentors Perold Tributum 2014
As the name suggests, Perold Tributum is a red blend that honours the 'father' of Pinotage, chemist and viticulturist Abraham Izak Perold. The KWV brand in general aims to celebrate the history of South African wine, and the Perold Tributum was recently placed under custodianship of the KWV The Mentors label. Made from Shiraz, Pinotage, Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Syrah, the wine showcases the best of Stellenbosch, Paarl, Darling and Wellington, where the grapes are sourced.
This wine is made in limited quantities, making it a proper treat. It is an elegant blend, with playful notes of dark cherries and plums, plus hints of dark chocolate. The structure and dense tannins make for good balance between fruit concentration and oak, resulting in a lingering, velvety finish.