Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Tasting at KWV

Tasting at KWV

Yesterday morning I went for a tasting of the lifestyle range at KWV headquarters in Paarl.

Richard Rowe the Australian Chief Winemaker on board since October 2008, was present to explain the direction he is taking this huge ship, not only stylistically, explaining how greater focus in vineyard are assisting in taking this eponymous winery to the next level.

No score are given, to the wines below, however one trait emerged during the tasting, KWV wines under Richard Rowe are now more fruit driven, delicately ripe, subtle extraction with vibrant freshness and minimal use of oak, the range definitely seem to have more energy, possibly due to better Ph management, with excellent purity, supported by a lightness of structure, without being facile or lean.

They are good to very good, clean commercial wines, true to the grapes used, less rusticity which was prevalent as far as I can recall to the late 90’s and for most part of the 2000’s.

I might reviewed the range and allocate scores, in the future, hereunder a brief overview:

Sauvignon Blanc 2011 – True to varietal, expressive, powerful pyrazine and peppery note, plush / plump texture, probably aided by some residual sugar, +/- 3 g / rs? Racy, fresh, good depth.

Sauvignon Blanc Reserve 2011 – Slightly more restrained, dusty / sandy mineral, green lime, fig, well structured with textured mid palate.

Chenin Blanc – Bright, lemony, Granny Smith apples, brush of honey, vibrant, zesty, pure Chenin fruit, very well made, persistent, very smart wine.

Chardonnay Reserve – Bright, upfront New World style, ripe, quite showy, fairly oaky on aromatics, but drier on the palate, broad and full, rich style.

Merlot 2010 – Ripe, plumy, good definition, has fruit structure, juicy profile, smart effort with a notoriously difficult grape to grow in South Africa

Merlot Reserve – Tad riper, fuller style more black fruits and edge of spicy oak, peppery.

Cabernet Sauvignon – Fruit driven, plush, delicately ripe blackcurrant, medium extraction, subtle spicy oak.

Shiraz 2009 – Modern twist, elegant, fresh and lively, more Syrah than Shiraz in style, crunchy black pepper, earthy, supportive oaking, high drinkability

Roodeberg 2010 – Shiraz driven blend with Cabernet, Merlot and Petit Verdot, fruit driven, clean, excellent purity, forward style, subtle oaking, fresh and elegant, a rejuvenated old daddy, freed of it’s rustic and rusty shackles of the past, good depth and moreish,exciting “redefinition of style”, respect of fruit to be commended.

Tawny NV – Properly aged as a true tawny should be, treacle, raisin, prunes, nutty profile, complex tertiary character, spicy cloves and cinnamon, subtle, rich and warming, persistent length, as great as any Tawny from a well respected Port house, could deliver, at a fraction the price though, one of KWV best kept secret, for how long?

Laborie Brut NV MCC - Near equal blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, properly Brut in style, dense perlage, broad, plump yellow fruits and light citrus character, structured, fresh, uncomplicated, fine character.