Tag Archives: shiraz

Eikendal Charisma 2013

TLDR:  A shiraz-lover’s dream with plenty to talk about //
Quality: 16/20 //
Price: R115 (as of Sept 2016) //
Value: 4/5 //
Ponce factor: Moderate //
Occasion: As comfy at a Friday night dinner as it is as a mid-week pick-me-up //
Key words: Sangiovese, Spice, Platters //
Vivino rating //

Tasting notes:

Colour is a dense, youthful crimson with legs like a female shotput champ – intimidating, but mesmerizing.

The palate reads like a Shiraz with cloves, violets & blackberries filling most of the frame. That said, the sweet black fruit that lingers longer than a pigeon on a Rhodes statue must be in part due to the 17% Petit Verdot. Not to mention the grippy tannins that pop up on the caboose. The red cherry acidity is delightfully clean & elegant, and while the blend holds only 5% Sangiovese, I can’t help feel like the Italian variety is responsible.

To fill those awkward silences…

No doubt about it, this is a weird blend by anyone’s standards. Eikendal themselves sell it as “a blend that will make sense when it’s in your glass”, because, hell, it makes very little sense on paper. You have two potentially brawny nightclub-bouncer-type varieties in the form of the Shiraz and Petit Verdot, but then toss in a teeny-tiny 5% of the moderately bodied Sangiovese? It’s a bit like having a Barbershop Trio (from Skokey Illinois) made up of James Hetfield, Chris Cornell, and… Elliot Smith. Weird mental image, right? Totally.

And yet, begrudgingly one must admit that it makes sense in the glass. Which makes for great dinner time convo for any ponces that you care to invite to the dinner table.

Shiraz delivers delightful pepper and cloves notes, which are pretty obvious on this wine. Petit Verdot delivers super-dense sweet black fruit, and (IMO) the sangiovese is punching above its weight to deliver some red cherry acidity. But forget about what I have to say. Discuss it amongst yourselves. The following questions should keep you busy long enough:
1. “Does it really work to double up a shiraz over a petit verdot?”
2. “Can you taste the cherry tomato notes that the sangiovese brings to the table?”
3. “Did you get my clever pun? When I said “brings to the table”, it was funny because it is both literal and figurative. Because we’re at a table. Get it?”
4. “Will this guy get better if we cellar him for a year or two?” (FYI, the answer is “yes”)

Finally, while Platters ratings may have their critics, if you can nail a Platters 4-Star wine for under R120 then you are winning. The combined joy of price and a convo-worthy blend of mis-matched varieties (according to conventional wisdom) makes this a decent offering. Drink three now, and cellar three for 2018.

KWV The Mentors Shiraz 2013

TLDR: Very nice, but at a price. //
Quality: 16/20 //
Price: R270 – R300 (as of September 2016) //
Value: 2/5 //
Ponce factor: High //
Occasion: Wine Ponce Festival //
Keywords: Terroir, Swartland, Fruit Selection //
Vivino rating //

Tasting notes:

Dense black fruit, white pepper, cloves & oak on the caboose. Superbly balanced. Despite its youth & formidable weight, tannins are ludicrously soft. If there is any criticism to make of this beauty, it’d be that it feels a little safe; acidity is tempered & any sharp edges have been removed. But, then again, as stated earlier, this is a definitive work, not a rule breaker. So safe as it is, I could drink this all year long.

To fill those awkward silences…

KWV Mentors winemaker Johan Fourie is writing textbooks; one bottle at a time. His chapter on Shiraz just happens to be a tour de force, with all the grace and elegance of a Tolkeinesque elven princess on ice skates. Unfortunately, there is not a lot of intrigue in the back story, so if you want to get maximum social impact when cracking this, best wait for a crowd that actually knows how incredible KWV’s Mentors range really is.

If you’re going to soldier on with this wine, and insist on dropping your pearls before your social circle of swine, be prepared to explain concepts like “terroir” and “fruit selection”. What makes KWV Mentors so exceptional as a range is that it fully employs the vast resources available to KWV to ensure that the fruit that goes into the wine is quite simply as good as it can be. Or at least as good as the winemaker wants it to be. There is the misconception amongst alchemists that “big is bad”, but quite honestly “big” is (more often than not) simply better funded, and so, if budget allows, and the winemaker knows what he is doing, the end result is going to be a winner. Needless to say, Johan Fourie knows his way around a grape.

With regards to terroir, this wine does boast the street cred of being 39% Swartland shiraz, so you can casually drop terms like “Swartland Revolution”, “bushvine”, or “low yield”, accompanied by the odd raised left eye brow. Wait to see if that gets any brownie points. If not, well, you’ve learnt your lesson – you should have kept this bad boy for a late night Wine Lovers’ Summit.