SA’s First Cognac Brand and the World’s First 30-year old Commercially Available Potstill Brandy
Cape Town – 30th October, 2014 – KWV, home of the World’s Best Brandy, today unveiled SA’s first and only XO Cognac produced under a South African brand name, the KWV Héritage XO Cognac, and KWV Nexus 30 year old brandy, the world’s first commercially available 30 year old brandy containing potstill up to 42 years old.
According to KWV’s Marketing Director, Peadar Hegarty, KWV is challenging the conventions of the industry with these two additions to its luxury product range.
“Cognac can only be produced in Western France and verification of its authenticity is taken very seriously, protected by an origin appellation, meaning that in order for the blend to qualify as a cognac grapes must be sourced and the product must be bottled and matured in the Cognac region in France,” he explains.
For KWV’s XO Cognac, KWV formed a collaborative partnership with the French House of Maison Charpentier* and developed KWV Héritage XO, created by KWV’s award winning Master Distiller Pieter de Bod who developed the exceptional blend in his brandy cellar in Paarl.
“Pieter chose from 20 of the finest “Extra Old” cognacs from the Petite Champagne and Grande Champagne regions in France, aged between 12 and 30 years, making it one of the oldest blends available worldwide and earning this Cognac its prestigious Heritage XO distinction,” says Hegarty.
He recalls the moment, saying that it was like watching a master pianist. “Pieter tasted each one, picked up the notes, then carefully chose the most precious blend, and our XO Héritage was born - a perfect finish great moment.”
de Bod then travelled to France for the blending and maturation process. Cognacs from the sought after Petit Champagne area are characterized by their elegance and Master Distiller De Bod says that the artisans at Maison Charpentier, which was founded in 1895, are true masters of their craft, distilling their cognac on site in small batches, which are then carefully nurtured throughout the maturation process in French Oak barrels. He points out that this is significantly different from the mass produced mainstream brands.
“We are very proud to be the first South African company to produce a South African branded Cognac,” says de Bod. “This represents what is believed to be the world’s first cross-continental alliance, illustrated by our brand statement ofTwo Continents, Two Keys, One Extraordinary Cognac.”
Hegarty says that KWV has a long tradition of crafting the finest brandies in the world. “The unique combination of the best blends from the Cognac province and Pieter’s craft is what inspired our KWV Master Distiller to blend the finest on offer from Maison Charpentier with the creation of this extraordinary KWV Héritage XO.”
He adds that KWV XO is the perfect blend, double distilled in traditional copper stills and matured in French oak barrels, testament to brilliant craftsmanship.
de Bod explains that KWV XO is rich amber in colour, conjuring up fruity flavours of litchi, cinnamon and fruitcake on the nose with notes of citrus, mocha and roasted coffee. “On tasting, one discovers a well-balanced Cognac with hints of coffee and dark chocolate and a lingering, velvety finish,” he says.
Cognac is one of the most important export products of France with 98% being exported. While the US was the most important Cognac market in the 90s, Asia, especially China, took prominence. The total luxury alcoholic beverage category is worth R1.1-billion per annum in South Africa alone, with Cognac representing 5.7% volume and 7.6% in value, and growing.
Nexus the world’s first 30-year old commercially available potstill brandy
The KWV Nexus 30-year old is an exceptional potstill brandy, handcrafted in small batches at the world renowned KWV cellars in Paarl using a blend ranging in age from 30 to 42 years old.
“Retailing at a recommended price of R23,000 Nexus is for those who want to celebrate those finish great moments with an exceptional brandy, that is personalised on order, from our retail partners,” says Hegarty.
Aptly, the Nexus name means the highest point of a connection. “It links our KWV journey to finish great, representing the pinnacle of our brandy journey, which begins with our 3 year old,” he adds. “KWV differentiates itself in the spirits industry in offering such a clearly signposted range of aged potstills. Our Master Distiller, Pieter de Bod, oversees each step to ensure the product is exquisitely crafted so that uncompromised purity and handcrafted quality is captured in every drop.”
de Bod says that during the first stage of maturation clear Potstill spirit absorbs the characteristic colour of the oak and develops its flavours and bouquets (the scent of oak, warm vanilla and the rich aromas brought out during toasting).
“Gradually the years pass, until after 20 years, the brandy mellows, the bouquet becomes richer and the flavour known as ‘Rancio’ appears,” he explains. “This is a Charentais term, being notes of exotic mushroom and walnut oil, complex specific aromas that develop during the long barrel ageing accentuating their intensity.”
At the culmination of its journey KWV Nexus 30 reaches its apogee, the climax of its development, the ultimate expression of the Master Distiller. In fact KWV Nexus contains brandy up to 42-year-old blends to ensure that this represents a product experience of unrivalled excellence.
de Bod describes the Nexus taste experience: “The rich golden amber liquid has a sweet strawberry jam, honey, dried orange peel and green pepper corn nose, which is well balanced with cinnamon, macadamia nuts and a smoky aroma complimented by old woody tawny port flavours. A well balanced brandy, it has a long finish with notes of spices, caramelized fruit and roasted coffee beans.”
KWV Nexus brandy is suspended in the orb of an exquisite hand-blown bottle crafted by internationally acclaimed glass artist, David Reade. Each individually crafted bottle is sealed with a handmade Baltic Amber stone, a unique gem with origins that can be traced to tree resins going back some 50 million years and set in copper by award-winning jewellery designer Maike Valcarcel.
Hegarty points out that the outer casing, also handcrafted from wood, represents the culmination of a journey of unsurpassed craft, patience and attention to detail. “Each distinctive element connecting naturally, beautifully interwoven creating a unique experience that will exceed your highest expectations,” he says.
“We chose unconventional packaging, as we wanted to showcase the beautiful bottle and the use of all natural products put together by these artisans fits beautifully with our Finish Great philosophy. From vine to glass, this precious blend is the proud fulfilment of an incredible brandy-making odyssey that represents our Master Craftsmen at their very best.”
Hegarty says that it has been a great year of recognition and awards for KWV having been the big wine and brandy winner at this year’s prestigious Veritas awards and winning Worldwide Best Brandy at the 2014 International Wine & Spirit Competition (IWSC) awards with the KWV 12 following on from winning Best Brandy in the World for KWV 15 in 2013.
“We also won Best South African Brandy in 2013 and 2014 with our KWV 20 year old which means all our Potstills from KWV 10 up are now major winners,” he adds. “This week, KWV also won another major accolade for our KWV 12, with a Platters 5 star.”
He continues: “This demonstrates a spectacular sequence of finish great moments and we will now showcase the world class talents of Pieter and his team through our new campaign. Finish Great is the story of a journey of ups and downs true to the journey our wonderful brandy embarks on as it matures to perfection. It is also the human story of how we can all overcome life’s challenges and celebrate our own Finish Great moments along the way.”
For more information visit www.finishgreat.co.za, or join the conversation on Twitter: @KWVBrandy #FinishGreat
*Maison Charpentier is located in the heart of the Cognac region at Brie-sous-Archiac. This area has experienced a rich geological history with successive periods of the ocean covering the land and receding, and a range of climates from tropical to glacial. During the long periods when the area was under water, deposits left from marine organisms formed rich limestone deposits. This limestone retains water during the summer months and the long roots of the vine are able to absorb minerals and nutritive components.
KWV is one of the leading wine and spirit producers in South Africa. Its head office is located in Paarl, in the Western Cape - a top wine-producing region. The company sources wines and grapes from the best and most sought-after viticultural regions in South Africa. KWV is known internationally for brands such as Roodeberg, KWV Wines, Laborie, Golden Kaan, Cathedral Cellar, Cafe Culture, Wild Africa Cream and the KWV 3,5,10,12,15 and 20-Year-Old brandies. KWV is challenging convention with its two 2014 innovations, namely its KWV Heritage XO Cognac and Nexus, the world’s first commercially available 30-year-Old potstill brandy. KWV is a founder member of the Industry Association for Responsible Use of Alcohol (ARA).