Tag Archives: red

Kleine Zalze Barrel Fermented Cabernet Sauvignon 2011

The Headlines: //

Like an emotional weightlifter – solid legs, followed by thick tears that run for days.
Colour is a medium intensity deep ruby hue, with medium+ viscosity.
Lovely open nose of pencil shavings, eucalyptus, and a hint of sweet plum.
On the palate, cassis and black cherries, with moderate acidity and pleasantly grippy tannins. I’m sure this will soften further with time, but I wouldn’t wait past 2018.

 Price: R120 (as of Sept 2016) //
Quality: 16/20//
Value: 3/5 //
Ponce factor: Moderate //
Occasion: Friday Dinner //
Key words: Consistency//

Vivino rating //

To fill those awkward silences…

Kleine Zalze is on fire right now

So you are struggling to maintain dinner guest interest with your passionate monologues on US politics? Why not try something a little closer to home; like how the combination of winemaker Kobus Basson and Kleine Zalze are a powerhouse combination to watch. Just have a gander at the little pretties they have produced over the last few years:
– a Platter 5-Star rating for their 2012 Barrel-Fermented Cabernet Sauvignon (R120.00),
– Chardonnay-du-Monde Top10  spot for their Vineyard Selection Wooded Chardonnay (R80.00),
– a Concours Mondiale Bruxelles Gold Medal for their 2015 Unwooded Chardonnay (R47.00)
– TWO Top10 spots in the Standard Bank Chenin Blanc competition (their Vineyard Select Chenin retails for about R80.00)

The list actually goes on for a lot longer, but what I wanted to focus on was the prices. If you look at the wines listed, none of them go over R120 per bottle, which is worth noting (as many of our 5-Star Platter wines and Chardonnay-du-Monde winners retail for between R250 and R450.00).

While it is kinda boring to faun like a schoolgirl at a Bieber concert, I do want to laud Kleine Zalze for their ability, not only to produce consistently great wines across a wide range of red and white varieties, but to deliver value to the customer, despite opportunities to sell wines for triple the price in foreign markets.

To be fair, that though was only marginally more than US politics. I apologise for over promising and under-performing.

To try and make up for that, and hopefully this will salvage your reputation as a conversationalist, I will leave you with one last Cab Sauv Moderately Fun Fact.

While Cabernet Sauvignon feels like a Big Daddy of a wine that will knock the socks of an unsuspecting winedrinker, it is actually the fortuitous little baby lovechild of a passionate night in the vineyards between Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc.

Which I guess makes it all the more suprising to see how the wee lad turned out. When you have light, dry, minimalist mother, and a rather effeminate and perfumey dad, the apple could hardly have fallen further from the tree.


KWV Mentors Orchestra 2013

TLDR:  Distinguished but pricy. Cellar until at least 2018 //
Quality: 16/20 //
Price: R270 – R300 (as of Sept 2016) //
Value: 2/5 //
Ponce factor: Moderate to High //
Occasion: Dinner for two (You don’t want to have to share this with too many people) //
Key words: Bordeaux blend //
Vivino rating //

Tasting notes:

Like the original Total Recall; ludicrously lengthy & gratuitously brawny.
Colour is a superbly intense, with vanguard aromas of classic Cab Sauvy pencil shavings & ripe cassis.
Palate is denser than the Governator, with heavy plums, more blackcurrant notes, and some positively gargantuan tannins. My bet would be that this guy will shine a little brighter after a few years in the cellar. Like a long-awaited cinematic remake with better colour and more convincing CGI.

To fill those awkward silences…

Aside from the fact that this is a KWV Mentors range wine (read more about that here), there are a few other chat-worthy elements to this wine. Not least of all is the fact that winemaker Johann Fourie has gone the whole hog and included FIVE of six permitted bordeaux varieties.

Bordeaux’s family five

A red Bordeaux-style blend refers to any wine made up of two or more of the five* Bordeaux grape varieties. If you’ve ever wandered down a supermarket wine aisle, even semi-conscious, then you will have seen most of these: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot & Malbec.

Trying to remember all these can be a bit of buzzkill, so I’ve crafted you a verbal family portrait instead:
Dad: Cabernet Sauvignon – a sage fellow (herbal notes present), full of stature (big tannins) with many years behind him (tannins and acidity give CS great aging potential)
Mom: Merlot – gentle natured (less intense than CS), with soft, feminine curves (tannins far more moderate than CS), and rosy cheeks (usually carrying soft red fruit on the palate)
Gym bunny older brother: Petit Verdot – super dense, super brawny (muscular tannins). Usually recognized in pure form thanks to its inky black-ish purple colour. Like a testorestone-fuelled adolescent, it usually comes with a fair share of intensity (dense ripe sweet black fruits).
Precocious teenage daughter: Cabernet Franc – Blossoms early, smells great, leaves its pleasant bouquet wherever it goes.
Baby: Malbec. Often consumed very young when bottled as a varietal wine (especially New world regions…French Malbecs can age longer). Like Petit Verdot, it adds intense colour to the mix.
*(technically Carmenere is No.6, but I ran out of family members. And if you can find a local Bordeaux blend with Carmenere in it, I’ll eat my hat…and wash it down with said carmenere-loving Bordeaux blend)

KWV Mentors Cabernet Sauvignon 2013

The Headlines: //

Colour is superbly dense. Sweet blueberry and maraschino cherries abound on the vanguard, complicated by some gloriously open oak aromas.
Palate is heavy with ripe fruit; mostly continued black maraschino cherries, with soft pepper finish and some truly grippy tannins. Acidity is moderate.
This could go beyond Thunderdome in two years’ time. But, hell, at R300 per bottle, I guess I’ll never know.

Quality: 15/20 //
Price: R270 – R300 (as of Sept 2016) //
Value: 1/5 //
Ponce factor: Moderate to High //
Occasion: Wine ponce festival //
Key words: Fruit selection, ripening //
Vivino rating //

To fill those awkward silences:

A little on the South African vintage of 2013

Humidity was an issue in 2013. Too high a moisture content in the air can facilitate the danger of rot in the vines. But harvesting too early can lead to stalky and green notes popping up in your wines. So what to do? Wait for drier conditions in which to harvest; giving your fruit time to ripen, but also increasing the chance of losing your crop to rot.
As it turns out, those winemakers who took the risk of waiting it out for drier conditions were rewarded with a superb harvest (especially among the red wines). With KWV having supreme access to awesome  fruit, they could pretty much do what they wanted. Which helps when trying to make wise fruit selection.

A few tidbits on the KWV Mentors range

For those not familiar with the Mentors Range, it is worth noting that the KWV group needs to be understood as a conglomerate of hugely disparate brands, some of which should be given global respect…as opposed to being diluted by Coca Cola. Mentors is one such label. It is a range of wines that has garnered more international awards than almost any other range of wines that our young democracy has tolerated. So, even though this wine is decent, it’s backstory is almost better than what’s in the bottle. Enough to elevate it to the point of being awesome.

But why? Well, for starters, as is the case with all Mentors wines, winemaker Johan Fourie has his pick of some of the finest grapes from pretty much any grape growing region in the country (thanks to KWV’s vast empire and unrivalled access to the country’s prime grape growing outfits). But secondly, Johan Fourie is not a rubbish winemaker. He spent years as a viticulturist, understanding the raw product, which gave him an advantage over those who skipped the agricultural grounding and went straight into the cellar. And then, more recently, he was awarded the Jan Smuts award at the 2015 Young Wine awards for both his Cabernet sauvignon, and his Shiraz.

And if that isn’t enough to keep you entertained, Jan Fourie makes some of the finest Chardonnays that this country has ever seen.
So…plenty to talk about, so long as your dinner guests are vaguely interested in wine. However, if they aren’t, and you still have nothing interesting to add on the topic of democracy, government spending, or indie rock, a sure winner is to play the “artisanal versus big corporate” card (which everyone loves, regardless of the industry), and expand on how KWV manage to be both a big corporate, and an artisanal winemaking outfit that garners international awards.