This year's Decanter World Wine Awards International Trophy for the Best in Show Sweet under £15 went to KWV, The Mentors Noble Late Harvest, Walker Bay, South Africa 2012 (10.2%)
- Château de Jurque, Séduction, Jurançon, France 2011
- Denis Dubourdieu, The Society’s Exhibition, Sauternes, Bordeaux, France 2010
- Heggies, Botrytis Riesling, Eden Valley, South Australia 2012
- Marisco, The Ned Noble Sauvignon Blanc, Waihopai Valley, Marlborough, New Zealand 2013
- Pillitteri, Vidal Reserve Icewine, Niagara Peninsula, Canada 2012
‘It’s a high-qual ity field, but this wine has more energy and acidity than the others,’ pronounced one of our judges during the International Trophy tasting. And so it was that this South African sweet wine saw off seriously tough competition from two leading sweet wine regions in France as well as Australia, New Zealand and Canada.
Based in Paarl, KWV – one of the country’s most well-known wine names – started out as a co-op of local farmers in 1918. Today it is a privately owned company and one of South Africa’s largest producers, exporting more than 80% of the wine and spirits it makes.
The Mentors range comes from vineyards throughout the Western Cape. All are made by Izele van Blerk who has been a winemaker at KWV for seven years since graduating from Stellenbosch University in viticulture and oenology. Her aim with all the wines (there are currently 12) is to illustrate their terroirs.
This late-harvest beauty is made from Sauvignon Blanc grapes grown on a single site in Walker Bay, southeast of Cape Town. The vines grow less than 5km from the ocean and, in KWV’s words ‘produce grapes that are high in flavour but modest in yield’. It’s a windswept swathe of land which brings its own challenges in growing fruit, but the optimum humidity is favourable to the formation of noble rot.
KWV had a clear goal in mind when setting out to make this wine: ‘We were looking fundamentally to produce a wine which shows a lot of botrytis character,’ it says, ‘and which is luscious and concentrated on the palate.’ The results are impressive – especially considering that this is the first release of this wine, where just over 6,500 half bottles were produced.
Written by Decanter